Whether prepping for or deep in the depths of NaNoWriMo, we tend to focus on word counts and stifling the inner editor. Don’t get me wrong. These are important issues. The latter helps with the former and the former is what gets you beyond that official finish line.
Let’s talk about what you can do to improve your experience. These are techniques which have little to do with plotting and wrangling words. These are meant to rejuvenate your energy stores, to lift your spirit, and to freshen your sense of purpose. They make it so much easier to do the stifling and the writing.
Simply put, I’d like you to consider what you can do for your comfort and pleasure. Self-care is greatly overlooked, especially during NaNo. We wrimos tend to develop tunnel vision and I’m telling you, it’s easy to feel the walls crowding you when you’re in a tunnel. What do you do when you’d like to treat yourself? Not a spa weekend, but rather a small pick-me-up. How do you like your environment so that you’re not distracted by it?
If I didn’t make lists for these situations, I’d get lost in the tunnel vision. I make two lists: Get and Do. I enlist my kids in helping me so the Getting and Doing don’t become chores themselves. Asking those close to you to help prepare you for and refresh you during NaNo also reinforces how important it is to you. One stone, two birds there.
I’m wary of stereotyping genderwise, so my disclaimer is these are examples which work for me. YMMV. I hope some of them inspire you to finding your own way out of the tunnel vision.
- Crepes on NaNo Eve (at least!)
- Good coffee and creamer
- Warm socks
- Fingerless gloves (I tend to write when it’s cold.)
- Peppermint lotion (It’s as invigorating on the hands as it is on the feet.)
- Good microwave meals and/or easy meal supplies
- New nail polish
When you make your list, keep in mind the little incidentals. Will you need change for laundry machines? Getting quarters means one big step I can skip at laundry time.
- Fresh linens on the bed
- Clean bathroom
- Do laundry (Yes, these are chores, but they make my life easier and more pleasant.)
- Find comfy sweaters
- Give myself a manicure (or go out and get one)
- Crank up the music and dance and/or play air guitar (or a real one!)
- Spend some time with family and pets
- Watch some entertainment (WARNING: Do not start a tv series. Far too easy to binge.)
- Read a book. (I strongly recommend setting a timer, but this is one of my favorite items.)
What helps you cleanse your writing palate? Maybe cooking a special meal or going for a run? Just as important, you can list items just for fun, ones which aren’t really options.
- Buy that Jaguar and take a ride down the mountain to see the leaves
- Have a fun evening at the local with <insert celebrity name here>
- Pitch a no-hitter during a crucial game in the World Series
When you feel a little frantic about writing, your writing gets bogged down. Lighten the mood and your outlook by looking at your list and picking something you enjoy. Taking a little time away from writing may be just what you need to get your head back in the game.
What is on your list? Please share and inspire other wrimos at the same time.