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A NaNoWriMo Pep Talk

Welp, we’re five days into November and NaNoWriMo is going strong! I have broken the 10,000 word mark and am well on my way to winning.

This can only last for so long.

In previous years, NaNoWriMo wasn’t too bad. I had plenty of time to write and few distractions. It helped that I could even write at one of my jobs.

Now, time is a lot more difficult to come by. My job doesn’t allow me to time to write (how rude!), and when I get home from work, my family comes first. My little boy demands to be held, and to be honest, there’s nothing I want more. I want to spend time with my wife, too, which gets difficult with a 4 (almost 5!) month old wanting our attention nonstop. Sometimes the only time I get with her is after he’s in bed, and that’s prime writing time.

When I went into this year’s NaNo, I knew I wouldn’t have much time, and I didn’t want to sacrifice family time just to write my novel in a month. I love being home with my wife and child, and it’s so much fun to play with them. I’d give up writing altogether if they demanded it of me.

Fortunately, they don’t. My wife is an angel. Every night after we put the little one to bed, she ushers me off to the kitchen table so I can start my writing for the night. I know she values our time together, too, so her sacrifice to allow me to is beyond gracious. Letting me go off by myself to write must be terribly difficult for her.

In order to speed up the process, I have started writing during any free time I have, which is essentially only during my lunch break. That’s hard for me, because as a pantser (one who writes by the seat of his pants), I prefer at LEAST two hours to get going. Three is even better. Four is gold. But if I’m going to get my writing in and still have a family life, I need to utilize every moment I can.

And that’s the secret to winning NaNoWriMo. If you think you’re too busy to write, you’re lying to yourself. Unless, of course, you’re a full-time student working two different jobs, you probably have at least some free time each day. For me, it’s about an hour during lunch and whatever time my wife lets me have at night. I used to use my lunch break time to read, because I just don’t have time otherwise. But now I’ve sacrificed my reading time to become my writing time. I miss reading, but I’d miss writing more. And hey, it’s only for a month.

That’s what you have to do. Sacrifice. Sacrifice reading, video games, TV, or even friend time if you want to get your novel on paper (or Word document). It’s hard, but again, it’s only for a month.

It’s definitely a struggle to find time, but totally worth it. If you don’t think you can find time to write, look at things in your life that you can do without and then exchange that time as writing time. You can do it. I believe in you.

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