Saturday, November 19, 2011

How I Caught Up With My NaNoWriMo Word Count 10 Minutes At A Time

That's right. 10 minutes. 10 is a powerful number. Yesterday it helped me write more than 6,500 words to catch up with my NaNoWriMo novel. Now I'm ahead.

If you're behind and want to make up for lost time, you should try this. But only try it if you also want to have a life in the process. You know, like take a walk around the neighborhood, go out for lunch, spend time with the kids, watch your favorite shows, take a nap, or go to a dinner party with friends. If you want to do all that and write 6,500 in a day, then keep reading.

So, that list of activities above... I did that on Friday, Nov. 18, 2011. I did that and, yes, wrote more than 6,500 words. It was a methodical effort on my part that started in the morning when I set a goal: I will catch up with my word count and write 6,500 words today.

My plan was simple. I numbered a piece of paper from 1-20. I also put that goal: 6,500 on the top of the page. Then I set my WriteMonkey timer to 10 minutes and typed words as fast as my fingers could fly. That first 10 minutes netted me only about 200 words. 

No biggie. I helped the kids get out the door, walked them to the bus stop, waved goodbye, then returned to my computer for Round 2. That second 10 minutes got me about 350 words. I paused, had a cup of coffee. I helped my wife make a batch of scones. Then Round 3. I was flying. I hit more than 600 words. Each time I wrote my word count on the paper next to the numbers 1, 2, 3.

After each 10-minute freewrite/speedwrite session, I took a break. I took a nap. Woke up for another session: 400 words. Read the newspaper; then 450 words. Ate lunch with my wife and watched an episode of Lie To Me; then, 400 more words.

Eventually, the kids came home. We watched some Military Channel show; then 390 words. We watched two episodes of Deadliest Warrior. After each episode, I squeezed in another 10-minute session: 425 words, 400 words.

I think you get the picture. By midnight, my last 10-minute session put me over the top. Ten minutes at a time, I wrote 6,751 words and still had fun with the family, attended a dinner party with friends, etc.

So, if you've never tried it, give it a shot. It worked for me. Let me know how it goes. Oh, an important rule. During those 10 minutes you write as fast as you can without editing, without stopping. Just write. Don't even worry if the right words don't come out. Just write.

Have fun!

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