Thursday, November 21, 2019

Dear O'Abby - I'm Behind in NaNo. How do I catch Up?

Dear O'Abby.

I'm behind on my word count for NaNo, and I'm not sure I have the time to catch up.  Do you have any advice about how to do it?  Have you ever managed to get there when you're way behind on the word count?



Dear Behind,

I'm with you.  I'm also behind on my word count.  I'm malingering around 26K.  At the pace I'm working, it's unlikely that I'll reach 50K by November 30.  So here are a few things to try if you want to pick up the word count and make it to the end.

The most important thing is to prioritize your writing.  If, like me, you have a demanding day job and a family, it's hard to make time for writing.  But this week, talk to your family and see if they can make a few concessions to your writing.  Maybe your partner can cook dinner a couple of nights so you can write for an extra hour.  Maybe your kids can.

If you have to take your kids to swimming lessons or ballet or any other activities, see if you can write while they participate.  Sit in the car and do it, if you have to.  Just make the most of that time.

And this weekend, see if on at least one of the days your partner or another relative could take the kids out for a few hours to give you space to write.  Or stay home with them so you can go somewhere quiet to write.

Or, if it's at all possible, see if you can take a day off work.  Two even.  Maybe you have a lot of leave days piling up or haven't taken any of your sick days yet this year.  Take one or two days and write during the hours you would normally be working.  You'll be amazed how much you can do in just two days.

That's what I'm doing this week.  Taking two days off to just write.  I'm hoping to get through 10K in those two days, which will get me back on track to finish by 30 November.

But that's not going to work for everyone.  So if you can't take time off, and you can't find anyone to watch the kids or take over any of the chores, you will have to find the time somewhere else.  If you put your mind to it, it's amazing what you can get done in an hour.  So maybe get up an hour early and write before everyone else gets up.  Or stay up an hour later at night if you're an evening person.

Use your lunch breaks if you need to.  Or your commute if you're not driving.  But I think I've talked about those pockets of time elsewhere.

The key thing to remember is, you can do this.  You can find time.  Any time you find yourself swiping idly through your phone, that's time you could be writing.  So use it and use it well.

Good luck!

X O'Abby

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