As I grow as an author, I struggle with the difference between bad habits and personal idiosyncrasies. I’ve read the chastising advice that a professional writer should be able to work in spite of distractions, interruptions, and other impediments. Yet most mothers who write search for time without kids to get their words out. I prefer to work in a place and time when I know that I won’t be interrupted. But can I make use of those tiny pockets of unpredictable time?
I’ve teetered between plotter and pantser. I usually end up with a good story if I can pants the whole thing from beginning to end in a short amount of time. For a novel-length-work, however, this isn’t easy to do. By the time I’m a few chapters in, my mind is racing ahead and I switch from pantsing to plotting and at least making a few notes if not a complete outline.
Since my first NaNoWriMo in 2010, I have loved the productivity of getting a large number of words out in a short time span. However this requires a good support system and a lot of preparation. For NaNo, I usually make several dinners ahead of time that I can put in the freezer and just pop in the oven when I need one. My hubby has stepped up and distracted the kids so I could write without interruption.
Last year and this year we live in a tiny apartment with a freezer that can barely hold the week’s frozen food. I might be able to fit one or two casseroles, but it would be tight. Hubby has been working graveyards, which makes it hard for him to find time to take the kids off my hands. We definitely don’t have enough money to splurge on dinner out. I failed miserably at NaNo last year. I’m not sure what’s going to happen this year.
Labor Day weekend is the 3 Day Novel Contest. This event is a bit loose in its definition of “novel” unlike NaNo’s 50k goal. A few years ago, hubby and I were both working at a place that closed for holidays, but many employees had keys so we could go in and work at odd hours. I prepped ahead of time by outlining my story and choosing inspirational pics. Hubby took charge of the girls, and I holed up in a small workroom near the employee kitchen. I had no distractions or interruptions, and I could stop any time I felt like it to nuke a meal. I successfully completed a 20k+ novella that weekend.
Umm… I’ve never polished it up or queried it… that’s something else on the list of author chores…
I’m planning to do both NaNo and 3Day this year. (I won’t register for 3Day… I don’t want to pay the fee and if my novel is good enough to win, it’s good enough to shop to a larger publisher.) I have a lot of unfinished projects I could finish, or I could do something all new. I don’t know what I’ll choose this time. We are still in the tiny apartment with no freezer space, but hubby is starting a better job with decent pay and no more graveyards. I will do all the prep I can, including outlining the novel ahead of time.
Someday, maybe this will be my norm. Prepping a project, arranging for all the household stuff like childcare and meals to be taken care of, then getting the story out in as short a time as possible. I think that would work really well for me, if I can make it happen.
Meanwhile, we’re off and running on another Round of Words in 80 Days. It’s time to set goals…but I’m not ready. I’m going to put that off until hubby starts getting paychecks from the new job.
This is the only week this summer when the girls have a structured activity. I plan to use those few precious hours each day to catch up on writing projects. I have a couple of shorts for markets with upcoming deadlines, not to mention the novel WIP.
Wish me luck.