NaNoWriMo Day One: Don’t Panic!

NaNo Goal Today:  2,500 words
ACTUAL words as of 5:30 pm: 4,591

So you were all set to get up bright and early and write for two hours before you had to go to work / take the kids to school / fly to San Francisco, but you overslept / your kid had the flu / you opened Facebook and lost track of time.

Stay calm. There’s lots of time and you’re going to manage it better from now on (or not, but you’ll forgive yourself for it).

My philosophy is that it’s best to immerse yourself in your story as much as possible. Writing every day, even if it’s just a little bit, will help. The more immersed you are in your story, the less time you will need to review it when you do write.

You don’t have to have 4 hours to do some actual writing. If you can “get yourself to the page” you can make great progress in 30 minutes. (I’ll blog about tips for getting to the page next week) Getting to the page is 1/2 the battle. Just do it and make the most of the short time you might have.

Can you:

get up 1/2 hour earlier /  stay up 1/2 hour later?
make meals simpler with less prep time?
sacrifice your favourite TV show?
sacrifice your social media time?
ride the bus instead of drive (I get tons of reading and writing done on public transit)
bring a lunch instead of go out and write during your lunch break?
stay after work for 1/2 hr to write just so you won’t be disturbed?
send your kids to a friends or relatives at least once a week for a few hours?

Even if you can’t do any actual writing, here are some ways to stay IN your story during the month (and let your family and friends know you may be a space cadet for the month because your mind will be preoccupied):

-if you need to get somewhere and it’s not too far, walk instead of drive. Walking and thinking about your story is a great way to develop it without distraction. Thinking about it while driving is not as easy and probably unsafe.

-think about it in the shower or bath. I kid you not, I use this all the time. Say I don’t have much time to write before going to work, I do some writing then immediately jump in the shower and go over the next scene in my head. It has the same affect as walking, but even more focused. Of course, it’s important to write these thoughts down, so then – –

-bring a small notebook with you wherever you go! or index cards. I use both. they ALWAYS come with me so I can jot ideas and actions down during the day.

-talk your story out with anyone who will listen. sometimes I go on walks with Baby and tell him that he doesn’t even have to pay attention to me, I just want to talk my story out loud. this is a technique suggested by Alex Epstein of Crafty Screenwriting fame and it’s extremely helpful.

For some of you this last suggestion may be very challenging, but you can do it.


If you check your email / facebook / blog / twitter / goodreads / etc before you start writing, chances are you will get sucked into a black hole of time and your thoughts will scatter to the ethers. WRITE FIRST.

If you have to, disable your internet connection in the morning. Create an auto alert or change your facebook status if you must let people know why you haven’t responded to them in 30 seconds.

I guarantee you the world will not end in the hour you are unconnected.


Filed under NaNoWriMo

5 responses to “NaNoWriMo Day One: Don’t Panic!

  1. These are SUCH good tips. I’ve been carrying a small notebook in my purse for a few months now, and even if I’m not in the mood to write, I can jot down ideas like which scenes need to be written or just my thoughts about something. Of course, I’ve been able to write while I’m out a couple of times too. I teach piano lessons, and I always write if someone cancels unexpectedly. Nothing else to do, anyway, since I don’t teach at home. Love your tip about writing first thing in the morning before checking email. I used to always check my email first because it seemed to get my mind going and wake me up. But yesterday, my husband took our modem to work with him so he could switch it with our cable company on his way home. I was without internet for 11 hours, and I got so much done! I wrote more yesterday than I ever had on one day, all in the first hour and forty minutes of my day! So today, even though I had internet, I did the same things, and by 6:50 this morning, I had already exceeded my goal for NaNoWriMo today.

  2. Fantastic on your discovery and your discipline. And congratulations on surpassing your goal! It’s amazing, isn’t it?

    I sometimes make my Sundays NO INTERNET days. Meaning I don’t go online at all that day. Truly makes a difference.

    And speaking of . . . gotta get back to writing now. 🙂

    • No internet days. What a novel idea! Sometimes I feel like I’m dumping my entire being into the blogging world. Tag surfer eats up a couple of hours (or more) every day. I hereby proclaim Thursday my NO INTERNET day. Hehe, we’ll see if it works out. Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. Good for you! Let me know how it goes.

  4. Pingback: Weekend Workout: More NaNo / Novel Prep | The Accidental Novelist (Writes Again)

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