Ten Priority Shifts to Meet NaNoWriMo Goals

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Week three of National Novel Writers Month (NaNoWriMo) started today, and I’m back in business after a rocky week two.

The past week was going great right through Wednesday, when I hit 33, 410 words. Then my week fell apart.  Thursday started with an interesting conference about support services metrics  hosted by EDUCAUSE-NERCOMP.  But, as I concentrated on slides and speakers, cuddled in my heavy sweater, scarf. and winter coat, I was incubating a down-for-the-count illness.

Luckily, my friends took care of me, I didn’t have to drive in the Boston traffic, and I arrived home in time to go to the walk-in clinic where my fever was kind enough to spike up to a hefty 102.9. A course of antibiotics prescribed and ibuprofen at my fingertips got me through the next 24 hours. But ultimately I missed three days of writing and my daily word average plummeted.

As my head traveled from fogland back to reality, I had to reflect on whether I was pushing myself too hard. No, I decided. I’ve been trying to take care of myself.  This was just the typical cold that worked its way into my head.  It has happen at least once a year for as long as I can remember. It was bound to happen this Autumn. It’s just a shame it happened this month.

When I made the commitment to participate in NaNoWriMo, I knew I had to make big changes in my life to support my decision.  Family and full-time work remained my top priorities, so other things had to go to make room for writing. Below are the changes I made in my life that have contributed to my word count:

  1. I’m not reading. Not one book. Not one magazine.  And how I miss it. There’s a pile stacking up for December. It starts with Live Free of Die by Jessie Crockett (Mystery) and Equilibrium by Lorrie Thomson (@LorrieThomson).
  2. I’m not cleaning, and I’m doing my best to not look at the leaves on the floor, the dog hair rolling like tumbleweed across my tile floors, and a layer of dust on top of cabinets that even Miss Havisham would envy.  Blinders. That’s what I need. Blinders.
  3. Because I’m not cleaning, I’m not listening to any books either.  The other day I did a little leaf-blowing and I listened to Innocence by Dean Koontz, but I had to set it aside because it triggered my ‘your not good enough’ thoughts. Thanks Dean Koontz.
  4. Dinner's ready!

    Dinner’s ready!

    I don’t remember the last time I grocery shopped. There are still some graham crackers, Hershey bars, and marshmallows in the cabinet. That’s got to cover at least two food groups.

  5. I miss my friends. I so need a Saturday morning breakfast at the diner!
  6. Two meetings a week this November. That’s it. All other nights are for writing or rest.
  7. My other novel, which had been going strong, has been set aside. Hopefully for only a month and not for three years like the last time.
  8. I’m not Tweeting.  If you are seeing my tweets, it’s because I scheduled them last month, or it’s a re-tweet, or the tweet is announcing my latest post.
  9. Exercise is down from seven days to three. I miss my daily walk. But this month I’m using two of my lunch hours to write.
  10. TV is a luxury, not a nightly activity. Added benefit: I don’t eat ice cream when I write.

Today week three started, and I’m writing again. It’s nice to be catching up with my characters.  I think they missed me. Turns out they didn’t do anything while I was gone.

The best part? With my Scrivener outline in place, I was able to start writing exactly where I left off. As of minutes ago, my word count had ratcheted up to 38,075 and I’m back on target to hit 50,000 before the holiday.

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About Barbara Rath

Enjoy reading, writing, hiking, hangin' with family, friends and my dogs, watching soccer (Go Breakers), baseball, football. Favorite foods are coffee, chocolate, and artichokes. Always thinking of new stuff to do and then not doing it.
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