'Tis that time of year again. When writers all over choose to accept the challenge to write a novel or what-have-you that amounts to (at least) 50,000 words in a span of 30 days for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo or NaNo). Madness? To some. Inconvenient? Perhaps. November is the official start of the holiday season. And for those with families, in school, or just in general trying to write period can be hard fought without the deadlines. However, deadlines work for many people. Just sayin'.
This year it's been difficult for me to balance my creative, professional, and personal life. In the end 2 out of 3 of these things got more focus with me often saying "I'll catch up on writing later." I've written a bunch: for Fiction Femme Fatale every month, for my blog bi-weekly (if not more) as well. I wrote and rewrote query letters galore and have edited in long stretches or small snippets. Not a week goes by that I don't write something. But in terms of my short story Collection? The headway made isn't as much as I anticipated.
I was considering NaNo. I'd like to focus on revising my Collection OR drafting a contemporary YA book with a male protagonist. I've had the new YA idea since late last year. But, now that I am finished with one YA book do I want to pursue another or really stick to one major project along with several shorter stories/essays on the side?
The upside is that when I was sick of the Collection I went to my YA sci-fi book and vice versa. But now that the YA sci-fi book is out for querying it's mainly the Collection. And I need to consider how I can utilize my time well for either work. I'd like to think that this is the time for me to pull up my straps and steer this Collection to where I've wanted it to be since its inception. Yet a new project with no set guidelines on where to revise or edit or finesse it is a bit more fun in terms of letting go.
Either way I do plan to write. Many December deadlines loom that I must fulfill and frankly if there's time I should utilize it. But this did get me thinking about time management. And a fellow writer Courtney had a month where she went offline. Yup, completely offline with some rules. No social media or internet and barely checking email. While I can't not check email daily because of my full-time job and my pending freelance projects I am thinking it's time for me to make November a Break Month. Meaning NO social media primarily. I'm going to start off with a week of no social media (no Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, LinkedIn, etc.). After that week of going cold turkey I'll set in other barriers such as looking at Facebook twice a day and Twitter twice a day and such. Not repeatedly checking for more information. I'll be limiting my internet use to specific sites (no Buzzfeed or HuffPo as easy distractions). No, I'll be looking more at NY Times, Washington Post, and BBC News. Without FB or Twitter it'll be easier not to look at all these random lists people post online.
The goal for me in November is to prioritize. Maybe I'll end up writing/revising 50,000 words inadvertently for NaNoWriMo. Maybe I'll just do a lot of freelance work. Or I may do a crapton of baking. But my goal is to use less time online just wasting time because it's easy. If I'm going to waste it I won't waste it looking at a screen but going outside, baking, reading, and more than hopefully writing. My goal for November is not just to write but to find a method that makes me get stuff done with as few distractions as possible.
So, happy writing whether you do NaNo or not. Either way I hope your days are productive.