I realised after my last post about NaNo-prep that I missed out on one of the key things we need to write: Time. And with good reason. You see, as any Dr Who fan will tell you, time is a tricksy thing. When we think we have oodles of time, things don’t always get done. Yet when there is no time at all, suddenly, magically, things work out. That’s where the magic of the NaNo-deadline comes from; with only 30 days, time is a limited resource, and this restriction creates a breeding ground for creativity.
From a psychological point of view, it’s not at all easy to measure people’s perceptions of time in an objective way. Time is after all subjective. Yet there are some studies out there that have shown how time slows down when you feel frightened (by having people fall!) or how time moves faster as you grow older. And as the great Chris Baty himself wrote in my NaNo-bible, No Plot? No Problem, for some people it is a lot harder to write when they are doing it full-time, compared to cramming it into their busy lives.
As for myself, November is inevitably a busy month. Not only is work a bit hectic at the moment, but I’m also taking a trip to Venice, and my mom is visiting, so that’s at least a week’s worth of writing pretty much out the window. And yet I’ve never found that I’ve had to give up anything to do NaNo. An hour or two in the evening, and my daily goal is met, even with my favourite TV shows on in the background.
So, my advice, in case anyone wants to know, is to just do what you would normally do (including washing and keeping the house sort-of tidy), but find those moments, in the evening or in the morning (depending on when you’re most awake/rearing to go) when you’re not usually doing all that much anyway. Everyone has times like that, when you’re just hanging out on the couch, watching TV, checking Facebook, or waiting for someone else. Use those pockets of precious time to write like the wind, and you’ll find you won’t need to cancel (too many) social events or become a hermit for the month, or (tempting as it may be) write at work and risk getting fired.
Wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey works in mysterious ways, but there is always enough of it if you look closely enough. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll find you can keep your writing time even after the deadline has passed. I certainly wish I had the gumption to keep up my NaNo-habit the rest of the year.