NaNoPreMo 2014: When To Write

Finding time to write and using the time I have effectively are persistent struggles for me, as you may gather from the amount of wittering I do on this blog about time tracking and the like.

One of the reasons I like to do NaNoWriMo is that it is the one month of the year when I can make my writing more of a priority, but I still have to find ways to fit the writing in around other activities. I need about two hours a day during the working week to write my planned 2,000 words.

Unfortunately this year I have lost time already: I was writing on the bus which gave me about an hour a day, but I’ve been cycling in to the day job since August which rather precludes that. The cycling is also improving my level of fitness, so I am unwilling to give that up until and unless the weather makes it untenable again.

So when am I going to write?

Firstly, I will write in the mornings before breakfast. Waking up at five to write for an hour has been an effective method of getting words down, as long as I just get up and get on with it.

Secondly, I will write at lunchtimes. This in fact is where NaNoWriMo is most helpful – I feel more permitted to put on the ear defenders and disappear from the daily hurly burly for an hour when I have a pressing writing deadline. Having my maze tracker on the wall helps with this because I can point at it when people ask what I am doing.

Thirdly, I have made a shelf to fit our treadmill. This means I can write while walking.

This feeds back into my fitness goals again, of course: I have been making more of an effort to reach 10,000 steps a day. One of the ironies of cycling is that it is a high energy activity (at least the way I ride) which doesn’t take a lot of steps* – mechanical efficiency at work! So, spending twenty minutes on the treadmill at the end of the day is not unusual, and now I can write while I am doing that.

Finally, I will write first before other things. This is just basic prioritisation, but not something I always succeed at: write before email, write before Facebook – write first, play later. This is really where my rule about turning off the Internet comes from.

If I was trying to write another 100k draft this year then I would be a lot more worried about fitting in the work, but I think my 50k target and the two hours a day I need to spend should be pretty manageable in the time I have available.

[*] my route has hills so if the only exercise I do is my 11 mile round trip then I get 100 floors but just 5,000 steps.

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