November 2, 2016

Start November with a Bang

NaNoWriMo has begun!

I fully didn't expect to get started on the 1st since my in-laws were staying with us and we had planned a busy day. Somehow, I was able to steal away an hour or so and start my novel. Before I knew it, it was the kids' bedtime, and I was sad to have to stop writing. Dorthy Parker said, "I hate writing, I love having written." I'm glad that I don't find this entirely true. Writing is fun and addictive (revising, however, is a totally different story).

There's tons of mostly helpful advice on how to be successful at writing, a lot of which is specifically focused at NaNoWriMo. Even after drafting four manuscripts and polishing up two of them, I still don't feel qualified to give advice on the writing process. But I can share a few things that I personally find helpful when I'm writing.

Minimize Distractions

I have small children, and they constantly need my help, ask for things, and demand my attention. I have to carve out time for writing when my husband can watch them, otherwise, I can't focus and the quality of my writing plummets. Even if they're in a different room, they're still really loud. Listening to music (preferably something that matches the tone of my current project) on headphones helps block out all the noise. I'll make sure to wear something comfortable while writing and keep a space heater near me so that getting too cold won't interrupt my writing process.

Have a Designated Place to Write

I've heard of other writers who retreat to a room specifically purposed for their writing. I don't quite have that luxury, but I do have a few spots in my house that are good for writing. Since I use a laptop, I can be flexible about where I work. The dining table is right in front of a large window that gets lots of sunlight so I enjoy writing there. If the kids start bugging me, I've got a small desk (also next to a window) in my room which also has a door so I can keep everyone out.

Backup Your Manuscript Every Day

There is nothing more infuriating than losing something you've spent hundreds of hours working on. I know a lot of people use cloud storage. I decided to get a backup hard drive that's connected to my home network. I read a story in the news about a writer running back into his burning house to save his manuscripts. Don't be him.

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