Sunday, November 1, 2015

NaNoWriMo: Writing at Home & Away

In case you missed the announcement, November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, and this November is no exception. Writers everywhere, from novices to old pros, will try to slam 50,000 words onto paper or the computer screen before the first of December. It’s a lofty goal, and one that brings equal parts frustration and elation. 

Of course, not everyone embraces this particular challenge, and even if you’re not a novelist, November brings other writing tasks to complete like addressing those holiday cards, making out the checks that pay the bills, and penning that long Thanksgiving shopping list. These tasks can be much more enjoyable, and can go much more quickly, if you set-up your nest for success. Here’s how:

 1. Cut the clutter to carve out a place just for writing
That’s a tough one, no matter your writing goal. Even if you earmark a spot at the kitchen table that shall remain clear, this means you can get in, get done, and get on to your next task. 

2. Stash some supplies.

·      If your nest is like mine, drawer space is precious, but devote one to scratch pads, pen, pencils, envelopes, and postage stamps so you can get those must-do writing chores done quickly, or you can also get down to brass tacks whenever your creative writing muse appears.
·       If you can’t sacrifice an entire drawer, try a shoebox covered in pretty paper and keep it close at hand in the top of the hall closet. Your To-Do List and your creative side will thank you. 

3. Make it moveable.
·       Rather than worrying about being shackled to your seat, invest in a good lap desk. I love mine. If the family’s watching a movie, I can keep them company and get some work done by taking my lap desk to the sofa. If it’s a gorgeous day outside, I can use it to take my work with me into the wild, too. And I do!
·       Load up a messenger bag and keep it ready to add your laptop so you can dash out the door for a writing date, or to enjoy a change of scene. Mine’s always packed with pens, Post-Its, and even snack bars. A fresh perspective might just increase your productivity, whether you’re addressing invitations or crafting your latest novel.

            So, there you have it. If November means NaNoWriMo or getting those holiday greetings into the mail, you can reach your writing goals with these tips for home and away. But our conversation doesn’t have to end here. What are the must-do tasks you’re working on this November? How will explore your creative side this month? We at the R8 would love to know!


  1. Great post, Nichole. Wonderful tips for making NaNoWriMo a success this year. I'm not officially participating ... doing my own modified version. Life is too crazy right now. And I always find with the holidays hub bub that I can't sustain the frenzy beyond the first two weeks of November. So, I'll work on that--writing hard for two weeks and see where I land on my new WIP. Thanks for the great tips! ;0)

  2. Great tips, Nic! In addition to keeping my dining room table clear of food, mail, and other clutter, I've been finding that 25 minute sprints paired with 5-10 minute stretch breaks have really increased my productivity. I know for those 25 minutes, my only concern is to get words on the page. The break is for FB, refilling my water glass, a trip to the WC, etc.

    A lot of times I go for a quick walk around my living room to get the blood flowing in my legs and allow my story brain a chance to make magic at its own pace. Once I'm back in the chair, it's been easier to go, go, go. It's working for me and I'm really grateful!

    Here's to many words in November!

  3. Love the tips! I'm not officially participating in NaNoWriMo this year - I have some classes for work to do which require homework and tests so I simply won't have time. But I am inspired by this time of year and it will to spur me to try for greater word counts. Thanks for the post.