Reblog: The Working Parents’ Guide to Winning NaNoWriMo

by , under general writing, NaNoWriMo

It’s November 26th, do you know what your word count is? If you’re competing inNaNoWriMo you undoubtedly know what it is now, what it was yesterday and what you are aiming for tomorrow.

NOTE: if you’ve already won NaNoWriMo, congratulations! This post won’t be of any interest to you. January is just around the corner so you’ll want to get busy polishing that manuscript for Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel contest in 2015.

Okay, great. Now that the overachievers are gone, let’s talk.

Writing is hard. Work is hard and so is that overtime job turning runny-nosed static-urchins into productive citizens. But we love a challenge (obviously) and so here we are: X days left of NaNoWriMo and XX,XXX words to go.

So, in the spirit helping frustrated and exhausted writers everywhere survive the 50,000 words in November challenge, I’ve pulled together this concise list of handy tips:

  1. Unplug. Completely. Unplug your internet connection, your phone, your cable. In fact, go outside with some hedge clippers and cut the cord completely. Avoid Twitter, Facebook, all forms of social media and blogs. In fact, what are you doing here right now? Seriously, don’t even answer your door. Trust me, you’ll be glad for this later.
  1. Set aside a quiet time every day to write. Note that this might be at 3:00 am. You should try to be awake for it. Do not rule out the use of ear plugs and duct tape.
  1. Clean laundry is overrated. Look, kids don’t care. My daughter would wear the same pair of dirty pajamas for the entirety of summer break if I let her. And as far as you go—by the time your coworkers catch on that you’ve been wearing the same pair of black pants since Veterans Day, this thing will be all over.
  1. Clean anything is overrated.  Housework will wait. How many people have actually died from a cat-hair embedded sofa? I suppose maybe someone…but those people just need to steer clear. Remember, you’re not answering the door (see item #1). Handy, eh?
  1. Ignore your kids completely. C’mon, it’s only a month. Of course I’m not talking anything that would merit a trip to the ER. But that spelling review? The book report on Divergent? Reading them Llama Llama for the 4,987th time? All that can wait until December.  After all, what’s more important? Well actually, it’s your kids. But still, what are they gonna do about it? You’re the parent—you’re in charge.
  1. One word: Depends. As in the undergarment. I know right now you’re probably thinking gross, but really, it’s better than some of the medical interventions I contemplated. This is also where not answering the door comes in handy. Just think of all the time you waste on any given day. Bahaha! Ah well, I guess it all Depends on how bad you want to win. (The puns practically write themselves! Ahem, as opposed to my manuscript.)
  1. Yes, you can all survive on carryout. Leftover pizza keeps indefinitely and consists of all the major food groups. Breakfast, lunch and dinner–all solved! Theoretically, I suppose someone could call the authorities on you for feeding your kids pizza for ninety consecutive meals. But you’re not answering the door, remember? Those people can’t get in. I told you you’d be glad you weren’t answering that door.

There you have it, that’s not so hard, right? And if all else fails, remember: All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. After all, it worked for Jack Torrance.

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  1. Mike Fuller Author

    No, I’m not. I can’t write under that kind of pressure. I did for 36 years. Due dates, supplemental report delinquencies, threats. Enough already. Not that there’s anything wrong with that (thanks Larry David), it ain’t for me. I’ll just keep pounding my keyboard writing the WIP in between taking The Child Bride to the store, wrestling the firewood into the house and then into the stove, letting the dog out, then in and training for my thru hike of the Appalachian Trail. I might be able to fit in a few blog posts and maybe work in some research time for the next novel but age has crept up on me and I do have to sleep for a few hours each night.

    Reply
  2. Joy Pixley

    Eep. I just made the plunge and really decided to do NaNoWriMo for the first time. I don’t normally write that well under pressure either. I have no idea what will happen. Did I say Eep yet? Eep.

    Reply

Don't just stand there.