|Day 1 at Starbucks|
NanoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) has been productive for me in the past.
In 2014, while traveling through Myanmar and Thailand, I completed another 35,000 words for my novel, and 15,000 more inother stories.
In 2015, I took the Nano principal but instead of creating new content, I spent 50 hours editing my novel from my home base in Portland, OR.
And in 2017, I further interpreted the Nano principal to spend 100 hours soul-searching on my month-long sabbatical.
I didn’t write about it at the time, but the 2017 Soul-Search was a very productive time for me indeed. To get my hour-count in, I included any time spent reading relevant books, journaling, having informational interviews, applying for jobs, and basically anything that was related to professional development. And it paid off. By December, I knew my next move in life. I wrote a bit more about that here, but essentially this time of self-study and self-reflection was what prompted my move to quit my job and start my own business.
This year, I plan to revisit Nano in a more traditional way: a return to writing. Given that I’ve been spending 40+ hours a week on professional development (i.e. running my own business), I don't need to designate special time for that. I also don’t really have any other major initiatives in my life that need devoted attention. So this year I plan to work on my second novel.
I have long since had the basic premise or it in my head, possible for 5-6 years now, but the actual story came to me while I was jogging in the May of 2017, and then an outline quickly followed. At the Tijuana Writers Retreat of October 2017, I hashed this story out with my friend at a bar, made a tiny amount of progress, and then promptly got consumed with my life transition. This November I will attempt to actually write this novel.
I still haven’t attempted to publish my first novel, but I take some satisfaction in knowing it is complete. But still, why work on number 2, when number 1 isn’t even on the shelves? Well, I am expecting my first baby in January, and I have no idea when I will have time to write once she comes. Between managing a business and caring for a newborn, I think I will have very little time to pursue my creative writing. Perhaps I’ll be wrong, but just in case, it will be nice to have this novel in a good shape before that time.
What do I want to learn this year?
My new challenges will be that I work from home now, so I need to find a way to vary my environment, so I don’t get fatigued working from my office.
Also, because I know set my own schedule and work when I want, I'm going to designate specific time for Nano writing. After all, I don't confirm my business to M-F 9-5 so I can really write whenever. This gives me the opportunity to experiment with writing at different times of the day and balancing those hours with my other other – what a rare treat I have not had since I’ve spent the last 10 years working M-F 9-5.
Scheduling set hours for writing will set up some guardrails so that I don’t carried away with business and slack on writing, but also so that writing won’t overtake my business needs.
My current projected schedule follows previous years in which I write minimally in the evenings M-F and more on weekends and holidays. I have no idea if I will stick to this schedule but within the first few weeks I should know.
Weekday Experiments, Monday-Friday:
Week 1: 1.5 hours in the morning 7:30am-9:00am
Week 2: 1.5 hours in the evening 7:00pm-8:30pm
Week 3: 1.5 hours in the midday 1:00pm-2:30pm
Week 4: 1.5 hour during whichever I liked best
Week 1: Writing Retreat in Astoria, OR
Week 2: 2 hours in the morning 9:00am-11:00am
2 hours in the evening 6:00pm-8:00pm
Week 3: 2 hours in the morning 9:00am-11:00am
2 hours in the midday 1:00pm-3:00pm
Week 4: 2 hours in the midday 1:00pm-3:00pm
2 hours in the evening 6:00pm-8:00pm
Here's my schedule: It totals to 53,000 words actually, but I would rather aim higher than lower.