Anything to stop me from typing, Underfoot pulled out all the cute. He started by peeking over the laptop and staring at me with sad, doe eyes. Then, he crept around the side of the laptop, climbed up my chest and planted himself in front of my face. He succeeded in stopping the tap-tap of the keys that time. It’s hard to do anything except laugh when you have a cat in your face.
After I made him get off my chest, he jumped up on the cat jungle gym behind me so he could step off it and onto the back of the chair. It took him several minutes to climb down the side of the chair, doing something I think he believed was stealth, to the arm where he plopped down, pushed my arm out of the way and put his pouty face on the edge of the laptop.
NaNoWriMo challenges participants to write 50,000 words during the month of November. This can seem like a daunting and time-consuming task and when you have work and house to run as well it can seem almost impossible. With some preparation, you can make November run more smoothly.
I’ve looked at a few prep lists for NaNo and noticed that mine was a little different. I decided to share it in hopes it helps someone else. I’m actually posting this in plenty of time this year!
Plan all meals for the month of November. Make sure to keep the next two in mind while making your November menu and consider doing a search for quick meal ideas. You can find what I did last year here: Freezer Meals.
If you search Google for printable menus and freezer inventory, you’ll find a plethora of templates that you can print or edit and print to help keep yourself organized. I’m hoping to have some custom printables for next year, but making something like that isn’t really my forte. I might have to enlist some help. wink, wink, nudge, nudge
Freeze leftovers for easy meals in November. My FoodSaver is one of my best friends all year round, but it’s particularly helpful for stocking up on meals for November. The bags are more compact than plastic containers, so you can fit more in your freezer. Freezing meals in plastic containers makes things handier, but make sure to cover the food with plastic wrap to help deter frost.
Detail clean the house. I have spring-cleaning and then NaNo cleaning. If the house is freshly detailed, those quick room cleanups go even faster. Besides, a super clean house can make you feel more comfortable with putting things off for a day or two so you have more time to write. 15-minute cleanups can help you feel more comfortable with leaving the deep cleaning until later.
These tips allow for a quick cleaning or maintenace cleaning inbetween more thorough cleanings. Find out how to clean any room in 15 minutes or less.
Schedule blog posts. If you have a blog, write a few blog posts in October and schedule them to post in November to squeeze out a little more writing time. Unless you’re doing NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) as well. I don’t know if scheduled posts are cheating, but it doesn’t seem sporting to me.
Learn your software. I made the mistake of installing new software to use while in the middle of NaNo. I spent more time trying to learn the new software than I did writing for several days. I use Scrivener when I write and while it’s pretty intuitive, I’d still hate to walk into it cold at any point during NaNo. I can’t recommend Scrivener highly enough, but I’ll save that for another post. Check it out, though. Just give yourself enough time to learn it if you decide to get it. You can always import your work into Scrivener later and in the last few years, there has been a discount coupon for Scrivener if you complete your 50,000. Doesn’t mean there will be this year, but there could be.
Jot down notes or make an outline. While there are many people who can sit down to a blank screen and just start typing, I’m not always one of them. Faced with a deadline, I feel more comfortable with some kind of direction in mind. Doesn’t mean that my characters don’t wander off script and I wind up with a different story than I planned, but it helps keep me from running into that brick wall called writer’s block.
Do any research needed ahead of time. Frantically researching while trying to finish NaNo can be a word count killer. I didn’t finish more than once because I didn’t get all my research done.
Fill out your calendar with appointments and obligations. Make note of these. What days are you not going to be able to write? If there are five days in November that you cannot see a way to fit writing in for whatever reason, adjust your daily word count accordingly and aim for that.
Let your friends and family know what you’re doing. They might scoff, but knowing ahead of time can ward off an explanation later. Listening to the scoffing while you’re doing NaNo not only takes time away from writing but could also damage your flow with negativity and drama you don’t need.
Make a playlist. A playlist of music that fits your genre or in some way fosters your creativity can help drown distraction and put you in the mood to write. Use headphones for best results.
I use music I own, Pandora and playlists on YouTube depending on my mood. YouTube less so. I’d be tempted to watch, but there are plenty of audio only playlists, too.
Here’s one of my favorite YouTube playlists when I need some creepy background music. Not audio only, but I hide it behind other windows until I forget there’s video.
For those of you participating this year, write like the wind! I’d love to hear/read how you’re doing so feel free to comment on a post, contact me or drop me an email. Feel free to add me as a friend on the NaNoWriMo website, too!
I feel like I was lazier this year than last. While editing pictures and posting recipes don’t happen instantly, I posted very few personal posts this year. I think a lot of the prompts were just a bit too personal or would have taken too much time away from NaNoWriMo.
I’d rather do NaBloPoMo during a different month, but I think of November as “writing month” so I wind up doing both at once. I’m not sure which month would be better for me, but I’m going to see if I can make myself participate during some other month next year.
As always, it has been a good experience for me. Forcing myself to dedicate time to doing something every day for both NaBloPoMo and NaNoWriMo proves that I can still do it.
Now, it’s time to get back to work on my novel! Thanks for joining me for NaBloPoMo and I hope you stick around to see what happens next.
Did you think I forgot to post today? I’m later than usual because I was waiting to make the announcement that I finished NaNo! The book isn’t finished, as always, but getting 50K words down is a significant milestone.
Thank you to the wonderful people that encouraged me again this year. You helped me hang in there when I was slogging along. And thanks again to Mike Dovers for the amazing cover!
No stopping now. I’m back to the grindstone tomorrow, but for today… I’m going to cheer a little.
As I type this, I’m 6,689 words from finishing NaNo. As long as I keep up my word count, I should finish before Thanksgiving. I haven’t been feeling well the last couple of days, but I’m pushing through.
Mister Underfoot loves me. I love him, too. Now can I get some sleep?!
Recently, Mister Underfoot has decided that I’m not allowed to sleep for more than a couple hours at a time. I’m not sure what he’s actually doing, because I’m half asleep, but I wake up with his face a half an inch from mine, his whiskers tickling me.
It was cute… at first.
After days of getting a few hours sleep here and there, always waking up to the tickling of his whiskers, the lack of sleep finally caught up with me. Yesterday, I was so exhausted that I couldn’t function anymore. My calves were killing me like they tend to when I stay up too late and I couldn’t concentrate on writing. I decided to take a nap knowing that I wasn’t going to get more than a few hours sleep thanks to the Whisker Bandit, but I needed to get some rest so I could make word count.
As expected, two hours after I fell asleep, the Whisker Bandit struck again. This time I groaned, rolled over and covered my face with the sheet. I wondered why my addled, half asleep brain hadn’t thought of this before. I was just about to drift back off to sleep when Underfoot stepped up on my head and sat down!
A muffled, “Ahhhh!” escaped me as I pushed him off. Now that I’m awake, I realize how lucky I am that he didn’t freak out and leave me a few painful reminders on my face, his new chair. I’m not sure how I wound up on my feet beside the bed, but I must have tossed the covers off and jumped out of bed. Wide awake now, I gave up on sleep and turned on the light to get dressed. This is what I saw…
I don’t know how he wound up wrapped up in the quilt. Maybe it happened when I tossed the covers off or maybe he crawled in there. I couldn’t tell if he was mad at me or if his feelings were hurt. I grabbed my phone and took this pic while explaining to him I wasn’t mad at him, but my face was not a proper place to sit. He just glared.
As I type this he’s in his normal place, on top of my arm trying to prevent me from getting anything done. He’s fifteen pounds of bulk and muscle, but he feels more like fifty. So, he’s not mad at me anymore, he never stays mad for long, and I hope he’s learned his lesson about sitting on my head, but I don’t hold out much hope for more than a few hours of sleep anytime soon.
I wonder if I burn more calories typing with his extra weight on my arm. New writer’s workout? Strengthen your arms and burn extra calories! All natural cat weights!
In one of those boxes on the right side of the blog is my word count. I’ve been pretty good at keeping it updated so far. For those of you following my progress, STOP PRESSURING ME! Just kidding! 🙂 Thanks for keeping me going!
Here’s my current count so you don’t have to go looking for it. The image will update with my current count, but this post will scroll off the page fairly quickly. Best to look for the Writing Projects box on the right side. 🙂
I mentioned in my Prep for NaNoWriMo post that having freezer meals ready for November is helpful, so I thought I should share what we did this year. My original plan was to keep from cooking tons of dishes and freezing them. I wanted to have crock pot and casserole dishes ready to go with a minimum of pre-cooking. That’s not exactly what happened and it took me more time than I planned. Two days longer than I planned.
I cut down my list several times before we decided on the amount of food we actually wanted to try to stuff in the freezer. I had lots of big ideas and not enough room!
You can’t see everything in the picture, but this is most of it.
I don’t have all the recipes posted, but I’ll keep editing this post and linking to the recipes as I add them. Gives me plenty of things to post during NaBloPoMo.
The full list of everything we made (the hubby was a huge help):
I thought I’d share the answer to a feedback question I received and ask the same of all you writers out there…
What music do you listen to while writing? I’m looking for something different to add to my playlist.
It depends on what I’m writing and that’s not a helpful answer. Certain scenes and certain characters have their own playlists that can be from almost any genre.
But I tend to lean toward ambient music (usually dark ambient) because it sets the mood and is less distracting. My favorite playlist when I don’t have a specific type of music in mind is all Midnight Syndicate tracks. Give them a try and see what you think. If you have more specific music types in mind, let me know.