On NaNoWriMo and Finding Time

Photo credit: bitslammer on Flickr
As NaNoWriMo approaches, I've been seeing more and more writers consider whether or not they'll join in this year. And one of the top considerations for whether or not that answer will be yes or no is, understandably, time.

So far, I've done NaNoWriMo twice (though I've done my own write a book in a month challenges much more often). The first time I was at my first year of art college, and my classes and assignments were rigorous and time-consuming. My homework involved detailed projects that required many hours multiple days a week to finish—and that's without the frequent trips to art supply stores downtown to get what I needed for those projects.

Basically, I was the busiest I'd ever been, but I also knew I really wanted to participate in NaNoWriMo for the first time even though finals were happening. So I did.

This required stealing time wherever I could find it. I did the bulk of my daily writing in the early morning hours, sipping blearily at my tea, and on the bus on the way to my classes. When I didn't get enough words in during those slots, I wrote before class started at my desk, or after I got back between homework assignments and final projects. It was challenging for sure—and doubly challenging when I realized thirteen days in I was writing the wrong manuscript and scrapped the whole thing—but it was also rewarding. I proved to myself that even when I was tackling the end of the semester I could get the words I needed down.

Of course, the last few weeks when I was home from school on my extended winter break were much easier. But it was still rewarding to know I could manage to keep my head above NaNo water at the end of a busy semester.

The point is, time is absolutely a factor when it comes to whether or not you should NaNo—but it's not the only factor. Because like writing at any other time of the year, if time is the only issue it's not often impossible to overcome. As writers, we have to learn where we can best squeeze in our writing time, whether that's on the commute to work, getting up extra early before school, while kids are at school or napping, or after a long work day into the late night hours.

There will always be reasons why we won't have the time to write a book, or participate in NaNoWriMo. But if time is the biggest factor for you, it might not be a bad idea to sit down and really consider where you could steal enough minutes from your day to slap down 1,667 words. You might just be surprised by how a couple minutes here and there of quickly jotted down words can add up.

How do you fit writing into your schedule? 

Twitter-sized bite:
Concerned about time when considering whether or not to #NaNoWriMo? Author @Ava_Jae talks finding time to NaNo. (Click to tweet)

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