As someone who has a full time job, finding the time to write 1667 words a day for a month, has been something of a worry for the last few weeks. Being time poor has led me to fail spectacularly for the last two years. So this year I decided to come up with a definite writing schedule.
To do so, I had to think long and hard about how I write, when I would get the most time, and what time of day I am alert enough to rattle off a decent amount of words.
Answering the first question did not bode well. I tend only to write a few hundred words at a time before I get distracted by something else. That meant doing the full word count in a single hit was going to be very challenging and I didn’t want to set myself an unrealistic goal. I was therefore going to have to split my writing into small chunks throughout the day.
Time was also going to be a big issue, so I looked at my working day. I start and finish early and for the most part I get the majority of my mundane workload done in the few hours before lunch. That left me with the early morning, mid afternoon and early evening, in which I could be reasonably confident of getting some words in.
Finally, I had to think about how I work and when I’m alert enough to churn out a few hundred words in a single sitting. I’m a lark rather than a night owl. I get up early and I’m usually in bed by 9.30pm. In terms of alertness I’m good first thing in the morning and in the early evening, but tend to flag a bit in between.
Taking all this into account I decided my best option would be to do short word sprints. Splitting the word count in half would not suit my short attention span. Even 800 words tends to be beyond my capabilities in a single sitting. So I settled on three, very short word sprints of 555 words each, per day. That gives me a daily word count of 1665 words. Two extra words and I’ve hit the target for each day.
In terms of the time of day I would be most likely to be successful at producing 555 words, early morning and early evening were going to be my two best options. That would mean adding the third word sprint in after lunch. Not my best time of day, but it gives me the optimum amount of time to recharge my batteries between the morning and evening sessions.
So my prescription for NaNoWriMo is set; three word sprints of 555 words per day, morning, afternoon, and evening. Rather like taking a course of medicine. I’m going to call it The Spoonful Of Sugar Method.