With NaNo starting later tonight, I figured it was a good time to slap you with a bit of harsh reality. Every year, the status messages fly on Facebook, asking who’s participating in this year’s NaNoWriMo. And almost as quickly, the responses appear saying how they’d love to do it, but they simply don’t have the time. Well, guess what… you’ll never have the time if you already have a busy life. If writing is something you truly want to try, you will need to decide what you’re going to give up.
For me, it was TV. The first year I participated in NaNo and reached that magical 50K mark, I gave up my evening TV routine. Before then, I sat down on the couch every night after the kids were in bed and unwound with a few shows. I was wasting three hours every night watching TV, yet I was one of those people who’d previously declared there simply wasn’t time in my life to write. By turning off the TV, I “found” three hours every night to unwind in a more productive way.
I’ll never forget the feeling late in the evening on November 30th that year. I slumped back in my chair and stared at the screen, amazed that I had gone above and beyond the 50K mark and I’d written an entire novel. Me. The girl who had trouble finishing anything because I have an unrealistic fear of “what next?” and I’d written a book! That was enough motivation to keep me from turning back to my old habit on December 1st. Trust me, the sense of accomplishment is worth it!
If you want to write, write! But don’t say you don’t have time. Make time. Block yourself out of social media if you find yourself flipping to Facebook “just to see what’s going on.” Carve out ten minutes here or fifteen minutes there and see what you can do over the course of the day. Get up an hour early. Stay up an hour late. Sit down with a notebook while you eat your lunch. Write on the bus, train, carpool, whatever. Write while you’re waiting to pick up the kids from activities. Write while kids are at their activities.
And if you try, but you don’t make it to 50,000 words, you didn’t fail, because you’ll have however many words more than you had at the beginning of the month. And almost any writer I know will tell you that is a huge accomplishment sometimes.