I do wish all of you participating the best of luck in this adventure, and have a few tips for getting through easier – if that’s possible. I know you don’t have much time to be torn from your work in progress, so I’ll keep these tips brief:
Back up your work, frequently. Hit save often and back up your work to an external storage device at least once a day.
Maintain your computer. Charge your battery and run a virus scan often to keep it up and running.
Maintain yourself. It’s easy to get lost in your work and forget basic things, like eating, sleeping, and going to the bathroom. Don’t. Your body has ways of reminding you to take care of it. Heed them.
Plan for breaks. You can’t write every minute of every day. Plan to take time out to spend with people, to do things you enjoy, take a walk to enjoy the crisp fall weather, or to just rest and relax. Catch up on the news so you don’t get completely “out of it” this month. You’ll be more productive when you return to writing if you take out an hour here or a day there to have a life.
Roll with it. Don’t stop to edit, and don’t get thrown if you find yourself writing something that you didn’t expect. I believe this is normal, in fact. Just roll with it and keep writing until you get the draft done. You can go back to do further research, rewrite, and edit later. This isn’t about writing a perfect draft – it’s about writing a rough draft that you can work with more later.
If you get stuck, make a jump. If you hit a point where you aren’t sure of what to do next, skip to the next point where you have an idea. The “middle sag” is a common problem. If you have the beginning and know how you want it to end, just open another Word document and start writing the final chapters. I’ve done this many times, and inevitably I figure out a way to bridge the gap between where I got stuck and where I want to go in a day or two. Then you can copy and paste everything together into a single document that you edit for consistency later.
Take shortcuts and simplify where you can. Crock pots are a working woman’s best friend to get meals on the table with little fuss and mess. Clorox wipes are miracles for cleaning kitchens and bathrooms quickly, and they disinfect too. Feather dusters or Swiffer dusters and fantastic for knocking dust off furniture, Swiffer mops are a quick and easy way to clean floors, and there’s no substitute for a lightweight vacuum to tidy up your carpet. Simply putting things in their proper place and emptying trash cans works wonders for making a place look clean and tidy. Skip “dry clean only” clothes this month in lieu of things that are machine washable. And do you really need to do your nails every week, especially if the polish is going to chip from typing all the time? Save the deep cleaning, dressing up, and fancy meals for December, when you have time to fuss over stuff.
Don’t waste time. Limit your time on the Internet or behind the TV. Those are the biggest time sucks of all. Let one social media update a day suffice and log off. Preferably, one to let us know about your progress for today.
And with that being said, get back to writing. You have a book to write!
Good luck to everybody participating in National Novel Writing Month. I wish you fun and success in this wonderful writing journey.
That’s all today. More later.