NaNoWriMo: I Cheated

Okay, cheating at a self imposed deadline is basically cheating yourself. In most cases I would say cheating yourself is a bad idea, in this case it was an accomplishment I had to complete.

Five minutes till midnight on the 30th I was 1100 words short on my NaNo project. I managed to write TEN THOUSAND words that day. That is a feat that usually takes me two weeks, and I did it in one day. When midnight came I decided to give myself an hour to finish, and declare myself a winner.

I put in my numbers, and continued writing. At 1:03 am I hit 50,011 words.

Each year when I do NaNoWriMo I set out with one goal, learn something new about my writing, or myself. Win or loose the actual challenge I have always learned something. This year was no different. This year I had no excuses to “lose” the challenge, so figuring out the secret to winning made all the difference. And it was such a simple thing, and yet so difficult, to figure out.

Time management.

I’ve had a love hate relationship with time management. For most of my life my time was dictated by a job, or school for my children or myself. Things like doctors appointments, shopping trips, and even sleep revolve around the schedule dictated by someone else. When I was free of all that I thought “now I have time to write,” but it wasn’t as easy as I thought.

There are so many things to distract us. Sometimes we get bogged down in those things, turn on the tv and sink into episode after episode of whatever we’re interested in, or loose hours in a game. It’s easy. It’s fun. It makes us happy. And when you don’t have that daily thing like a day job to set your schedule to it’s so much easier just to say “I’ll get to that later.”

So this year during NaNoWriMo I learned that I have to find some balance to my schedule. It doesn’t have to be strict, and it can change when necessary, but I had to find something that worked for me so I could prioritize the important things.

The first thing I did, which worked fantastic to get me through the end of NaNoWriMo, was download Toggl. With this app I was able to track what I was doing, for how long, and actually get a good look at how much time I was wasting. Once I logged things into the app I could click a button to easily toggle tracking for specific things. Items can be lumped in to projects so you can easily see where time is spent. For me house care includes cooking, cleaning, and taking care of things for the home. Admin includes marketing, blog posts, and research. Writing is….writing. And me time is all the gaming, reading, and everything else I do just for me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over the last three days I only tracked 24 hours. It’s going to take some time to get used to using it, but the app is going to help me increase my productivity by allowing me to see where all my time is going. It takes away all the excuses and shows you exactly what you’re using your time for.

I want to track everything for a few weeks to get a base line of where my time goes, but once I have that base line I expect I will only track work and household related time.

Of course this has a second consequence… I had been using the excuse that I was “working up” to 2k words a day. I learned that when I am writing well I write 33 words a minute, that’s about 1k every half hour. Of course editing, and certain tough chapters, will be slower, but the more I think about it the more I realize I should be writing a whole lot more every week. I will have to see how far I can get if I work harder to put in the time.

Expect more updates as I get this time management thing under control, and hopefully that means new books as well. After all, I just wrote 50k words in one of them.

5min Update

This week has been an interesting one. I’ve got a new shift at work, and a lot more time. Or at least it feels like it.

Before this week I worked Friday to Tuesday, from 3-10. This week I’ve got the weekends off, and I’m home by 7pm.

I’m a natural night owl so I didn’t mind working late. It just meant I stayed up late and did stuff when other people were asleep. But I don’t know why this shift makes me feel like I have more time. Maybe it’s because I can still get to d&d even though I worked that day. Maybe it’s because things aren’t closed when I get off work and I can go out to eat, or shopping for a moment.

In any event, I’ve had a bit more time for me, and I’ve spent that time editing Ghostly Intentions. I’m half way through, so I’m pretty confident I can get it out this weekend. That would be awesome.

Also, I have Costume Shop ready for an edit so I’ll probably be finishing that up and publishing it in a couple weeks. Plus I’m working more on finishing book two in my half blood sorceress series…. So much writing. And I’m happy to be doing it again!

And that’s my five.

What a week

My new job started this week. It’s been a lot of fun. We’re just doing training right now, but it’s been a blast. There are 18 people in the class, with the trainer, and a couple of people that come in and out to help depending on the needs. We do a lot of discussions, drawing graphs and pictures, and just lots of learning. Everyone is so nice, and happy. Even the couple of people who are going through some tough times right now, they are still smiles while in class.

It feels good to be somewhere with lots of people who are just friendly. I’m sure eventually I’ll come across someone who isn’t so nice, but, ya know what, I’m just going to enjoy things as they are.

The writing… that’s another story. I’ve write 1400 words since starting the new job, which isn’t a lot. The first few days were spent adjusting to schedules, and sleeping because it was so emotionally and mentally draining. (Friday was also kind of draining. It was the first time on the phones, and really scary at first.) I also have to commute a bit farther (20 miles instead of two blocks, lol) but it’s really not that bad. By end of the week I started getting to where I was looking forward to an hour of writing in the evening.

I want to have an hour before work, and at least an hour in the evening, where I write. I think I can start training myself to do that. The morning session is the harder part, I have always had trouble writing in the morning. But I’m going to need to be able to do this in order to keep up my output.

I think this is going to work. Writing and having a full time job, saving money so that I can eventually have a house… yep, I’m on my way.

Sleep, what’s that?

Tired. That about sums up my day today. I swept three floors of the building I work at, and all the empty units, which made for a very tired Crissy. I think I’ve been far too sedentary the last year or two. Not that I didn’t clean the building and such during the last two years, I just didn’t do it all at once like that, with little sleep the night before.

Then Gregg, Tiffany and I went to the craft store where I recorded my semi-daily Vlog. It got a little musical.

Usually I just write about something I find a little profound or interesting for the day. But today, I just wanted to touch base, and maybe prove to myself that it was a more productive day then I thought. I shared a scene from my book, Put out a newsletter, posted the vlog, and a minecraft video, and I wrote another 500 words. I still have half an hour before midnight to go write a bit more. It’s actually been very productive, it just doesn’t feel like it.

Some days, like today, I get a lot of little things done but it doesn’t feel like I had accomplished much. Then when I type it all out I get a good overview of it all and realize I actually did quite a bit and I shouldn’t be quite so harsh on myself. Yes, maybe I could write more, but I spent some quality time with my family, and I took some time to do some other things to rest and recuperate. Now the writing can be better.

Moral? Don’t be too hard on yourself. Take a closer look at what you’ve done and give yourself credit where it’s deserved.