Thursday, October 28, 2010

Finding Time for Nano (re-post)

Most of us have jobs, children, husbands, friends and family that are going to miss us this November. :) Here are a few tips to try and make it a little easier on everyone....

  1. Enlist extra help: If you can afford a sitter, great! If not, sit down with the husband and explain that this writing career will require a certain amount of sacrifice. Even if it is just one hour an evening/morning (whatever your schedules are) ask him to take the reins for one hour. During that one hour-WRITE! Don't blog or email or facebook. Write words, plan a story-outline, whatever gets your wheels turning, do it! If you have older children, explain to them that there is going to be a certain time that while you are at the computer/desk each day, they are to color/paint/draw/play cars/build a tent with pillows-whatever they want to do (within reason) and you focus on your writing. Even if it's only 30 minutes, add that to the hour from hubby and that's 1.5 hr each day for five days, that's 7.5 hours of writing time.
  2. Let Go: Depending on the age of your children, I had to realize that my oldest could learn to do some dishes, sweep a floor and clear the table. Even my six year old could do things in the evening to relieve me a few minutes of time. Once I let go of the 'control' of running the household, I found a lot more time to do some social networking AND writing!
  3. Dishes Will Wait: So will laundry, toys on the floor, cluttered tables, etc.. etc.. Here's what I've learned from three children. They will follow me and undo everything I've done during the day. Therefore-toys are not a concern until 30 minutes before bedtime. Then everything is to be picked up and put away. I vacuum if it's needed (which it usually is with a crumb leaving prince). I may do a few dishes here and there throughout the day, but the majority of them are left for the evening. Surprisingly, once everyone is in bed, there may be some laundry to fold or put away, but the house is generally clean. Time to write, or read a story to the kids, or yourself. :) This also creates a great new routine of having a clean house in the morning.
  4. Get up Early/Stay up Late: Yeah, this part sucks, but if you want to carve out the will. Either get up 30 minutes before everyone a few times a week or stay up late on Friday or Saturday. I get up 30 minutes earlier than everyone on school days. During this time I read blogs, and write mine. If I don't write in mine, I may write a few words in my WIP. When I get home, sometimes, I am lucky enough to have another 20 or 30 minutes before young prince is awake. I take that time to write!
  5. Analyze Activities: Are you doing too much? If you work, have three children that each have one activity a piece and you are the den mother for the Girl Scouts and oh yes, the library book club-you have too much going on! Do you really need to be the den mother? Are each of the kids' activities necessary? Maybe they could use a little break too! Once you lose some of those activities that previously held such priority-your writing will thank you.
  6. Use The Most of TIME: When you know that you have a dr's appointment that will take more than a few minutes, bring your notebook to write notes or story ideas. It's also a good time to bring books that you may have been putting off reading. Sitting in the field waiting for your soccer pro? Write in a notebook. Bring a notebook and pen with you EVERYWHERE. Are there times you play games online instead of write? Re evaluate and make yourself a block of time specifically for online distractions, then you won't be so tempted to play during writing time.
  7. Accept That sometimes It won't Work: There are just those days. Don't beat yourself up and let yourself get into a downward spiral and end up not writing for weeks. There are going to be days that the best laid plans don't count for a hill of beans. It's okay. There's tomorrow.
This isn't the perfect plan, but it's worked fairly smoothly for me and my family. Everyone is different, obviously. My husband, the court jester, is disabled and is therefore home with me each day. But, he is limited in how much he can help me, much like husbands that go out to work each day to support their families. It takes a little time to get used to, but even your children will understand, once explained, that this is mommy's time. And Mom-it's okay to have that. I promise you aren't going to send your kids to therapy for this.


  1. Yep, I agree with your points. They are great ones. This will be my second NaNo and I'm super excited. :) Buddy me if you like. I'm lisagibson there.
    Lisa ~ YA Literature Lover

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  3. I finished my 50,000 words last years with a couple days to spare. I was so excited!

    The past couples months, I've been planning my new NaNo novel, waiting with bated breath until 11/1.

    But... I just decided to forgo it this year. My husband has numerous business trips planned, we'll be visiting relatives most of T-Day week, out of town another weekend and celebrating my daughter's 13th bday.

    I realized that trying to squeeze in Nano this year just wouldn't be fair to anyone.

    But when next year comes around, I'll be ready!

    Kate (

  4. Is it awful that housework always comes after writing for me? Okay, not always! When I'm really on fire, it does, though. I have a short attention span and get restless if I sit too long, so I set hourly goals for myself. So...say I have four hours to write...I tell myself I want to write two pages an hour. (You could make it more or less.) I go to the bottom of my ms. or take out a Post-It, whatever, and write the time with the page goal next to it. 8:00-page 2; 9:00-page 4, etc. Then my rule is that I have to have my butt in chair writing at the top of that hour and butt must stay there until I reach my goal. Only then can I get up and ONLY until the end of that hour, when I have to sit down and write my next two pages.

    When I have less time, I set half hourly goals. I can usually write a page in 8-10 minutes and 2 pages in around 15.


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