Monday, November 23, 2015

NaNoWriMo 2015: Week Three Report

Here we are, entering the final week of another NaNoWriMo. It's kind of unbelievable, the more I think about it. This will be my fifth NaNoWriMo event since 2007, and my third in a row. And every time I cross that finish line, it still blows me away. It's a great feeling, and a reminder that the answer to an often-asked question about writing never changes.

The question: When do you find time to write?

The answer: You don't. You make time.

That's it--you make the time to write. It's not some mystery, it's not some hidden thing that you might be lucky enough to put your hands on if you look in the right place. It's there, all the time, staring you in the face.

You have to make time to write. And when I say you, I mean me. I mean us. We have to make time to write.

I love to write. If I could, I would make it my full-time job. I WANT writing to be the way I make my living. Hopefully someday I will be able to write full-time.

But that isn't my life right now.

So, in order to write, I have to make time for it. And one of the things I love most about NaNoWriMo is that through its community, it's never-ending waves of positivity and its audacity to dare us to write a novel in one month, NaNoWriMo helps us make time to write.

Right now, at this stage of my writing life, I need NaNoWriMo. The NaNo events are the only times of the year that I've consistently been able to write 2,000 words a day for a prolonged period of time. I've gone through good stretches of writing at least 500-1000 words a day outside of NaNo events, but only within them have I been able to hit those counts for a whole month.

But regardless of the word counts, what NaNo has helped me to do over the past several years is create a routine that involves regular writing. Whether it's a blog post, a short story, or the latest book I'm working on, I write almost every single day. Because way back in 2007, NaNoWriMo showed me that it was possible, if I just prioritized my writing and made time for it.

That's not to say that life doesn't get in the way, or that you don't need to take a break from writing now and again. It just means that you can't let life derail you, or those breaks to stretch into long periods of inactivity. There will always be times when we cannot write. The trick is to keep writing as something sacred that you will make time for.

I hate running, but I like to think of my approach to writing and NaNo events like training for marathons. You don't run the big events all the time, but you never stop training. So, while 2K a day is not an every-month thing, I'm still getting my daily training in. And unlike running, I actually love spending time on my writing.