This is my first attempt at NaNo (short for National Novel Writing Month), a writing contest which is held every November. The goal: write 50,000 words in 30 days. Daunting.
Let’s redact that word daunting because it’s as bad as overwhelming. NaNoWriMo is all about getting over that and just writing for quantity. Notice I said quantity and not quality (see Nano for more details).
What does it take to write 50,000 words in a month?
The 10 minute sprint. Yes, you could do five minutes, or an hour, but I find ten minutes optimal. It doesn’t seem like much. It’s totally manageable even with a busy life.
Now, the question is, how many sprints at ten minutes each will get you past that big 5-0 mark? That depends on how fast you type, and here comes the math, but it’s easy.
Let’s say you type 50 wpm. That’s an easy 500 words. Any words. Misspelled words. At this point, you’re not editing. Your fingers are just flying.
That’s 100 sprints during the month. Spreading that out over thirty days seems doable at an average of three per day. Not bad. That’s really only half an hour a day, that is, if you’re averaging it out evenly through the month, but if procrastination reigns supreme, that’s just not likely to happen.
So, do them in bunches. Do them on a weekend. Do them around the American Thanksgiving holiday, and even given that, you can still do it. Kids scrambling on the couch and you’ve not had a lick of time all day? I know the feeling. Do a sprint before brushing your teeth. Do it on your lunch hour. It’s 500 words closer to your goal, and lucky you if you type faster.
Writing is lonely, and the motivation, that big energetic boon you first had at the start of the month might start waning. So find writing friends to do sprints with you. There’s a huge support network of Nanos out there doing the same as you. I found hundreds of them in Google+ (and that’s been a great way to connect quickly to like-minded enthusiasts). In there, group sprints can happen in hangouts, or show support each other in postings, such as a word count for the day, or there are Nano groups for face-to-face meetings in your local area or region, and you can connect with them through the Nano main site. Nano is one great we’re in it together group.
If you need to feel more accomplished as you go along, and more self-accountable, then make a list, from one to a hundred representing each ten minute sprint and tick off the the ones you’ve done. It’s a great visual ruler as it’s outside of all that text you just saved and scrolled past.
Good luck on your NaNo’ing!! See you at the finish line!