Time Management and NaNoWriMo

National Novel Writing Month, kindly spat out in every day conversation as NaNoWriMo, starts in a month. This will be my fourth attempt.

For those of you that aren’t familiar with NaNoWriMo, here’s the short version: every November, writers all over the world try to write a novel (50,000 words–although they accept anything over 10,000 words) in 30 days. That is about 1,667 words a day.

challenge accepted

You can outline before November, but aren’t supposed to start writing until the month begins. Outside of personal satisfaction of being able to say, “hey, I wrote a novel in a month!” there are some online publishers who work with NaNoWriMo, so there is a publication possibility.

Like I said before, this will be my fourth attempt. I’ve never even made it halfway through the month without falling so far behind that there is no chance I catch up. But I’m going to try again, despite the million other things I have going on: homeschooling, editing The Goldens, shopping around another fiction piece, and that little thing called motherhood. Why even bother, you ask? Because I’ve been working really hard at time management (staying off Facebook, cough cough) and I think giving myself those daily word count goals will help.


No excuses!

Here are my time management goals that I’ll be working on this month so that come November, I’ll be ready:

  • I’m going to take the advice from this FastCompany article by Lauren Vanderkam and go on a time hunt: Faulkner [the Executive Director of NaNoWriMo] advises people to “go on a time hunt.” For a week, write down every single thing you do. “Get a really good idea of how you spend your time. Most people really don’t know,” he says. You putter around with the mail pile for 15 minutes while dinner is cooking. You lose 30 minutes following links your friends post on Facebook. There are apparently quite a few time tracking apps available–I’m going to do my homework on them and I’ll report back when I’ve tried a couple out. My guess on my biggest time-sucks? Second guessing my own decisions and social media. I really need to work on making a choice and then tucking it away on the book shelf of my mind, instead of revisiting it and making little tweaks that don’t really change anything. As for social media, I really just need to be careful not to get sucked into Facebook drama (I rarely participate, but I find the snarky comments addicting) and not to lose myself in scrolling through Instagram every time I post something. I think social media is important–for my blog, for interacting with readers and finding new awesome blogs, and for keeping up with family–so I’m not cutting it out. I’m thinking of instituting mental “office hours” where I give myself a block of time to browse and comment.
  • Establishing “This is When Mommy Writes” time with my son. For me to have any negligible block of time during the day to write, I’m going to need his cooperation. 
  • Outlining before November 1st. I’m terrible at outlining, but if I want to write a whole novel in a month, it’s going to be necessary.
  • I’m going to attempt to meal plan for the entire month. If I’m lucky, I do it week by week. Most of the time it happens in 3 day chunks. I feel like I spend a HUGE amount of time looking for recipes and making food during the week. Nothing to do with writing, but having a plan to feed my family will free up a lot of time.

Do you participate in NaNoWriMo? Do you prep or just jump right in?


6 thoughts on “Time Management and NaNoWriMo

  1. This will be my fourth attempt at it as well. I usually fall off within a few days. But now, I have a deadline for novel #2, so I hope to use it to my advantage. I’m 30,000 words in to my WIP, so another 50,000 would almost get me to the end. My agent is asking for a summary on a regular basis, so I’ll hope to have it to her by the of NaNoWriMo! Best of luck with your November!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Have you tried using index cards as an outline? I am doing that this year and pinning them on a big bulletin board. I hate regular outlines and I never end up following them anyway. With the cards I can move them around, change them, make new ones, throw away half and start over and it still works. Or even just writing a synopsis can be more helpful than a ‘real’ outline. I think traditional outlines are designed to piss creative people off but maybe that’s just me.

    As for your meal planning have you considered pre-made freezer meals? Last November my slow cooker got more action than it had ever in its existence and I got to not really worry about dinner. It took a few days of prep and seemed like such as hassle as I put everything together but I ended up being grateful that I took the time.

    I also had to have a talk with my family about my writing time. The first few days they each suddenly, desperately needed my attention but finally adjusted (feared the wrath and dreaded the sad look on my face depending on what they were interrupting) to my writing time being mine and we all fell into a rhythm. I managed to finally ‘win’ last year instead of only making it halfway.

    Good luck this year!

    Liked by 1 person

    • These are great ideas…I especially love the index cards! I think it would really benefit me to be able to change things around. I agree that outlines piss creative people off! It’s too binding (all my college English teachers are shaking their heads right now). I’m definitely going to be utilizing my crockpot. Thanks again for all the tips and good luck to you too!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow! That’s a lot of writing and a really cool project to be a part of! Good luck!

    As for meal planning, I stink at it, so I do a lot of pre-made freezer meal workshops with friends so I’ll make 10 – 20 meals for my family of 5 in one day! It helps so much on the craziest of days and we’re not breaking down and doing pizza takeout or cereal for dinner every night. LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

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