Yesterday someone asked me how much time I’m spending on writing every day. Stupidly, I said “at least three hours”. Why is that stupid? Because when I actually thought about it later on, I realized that though I may be typing for at least three hours (if you count all the steady runs and take out the breaks), I’m spending a heck of a lot longer working on it. This is my focus for the month – three hours really isn’t enough to justify NaNo as my focus.
How do I spend my other time when I’m sitting at the computer, but not necessarily typing away at the storyline?
1) Research. Although I did as much research as I could before the month started, there are times when I need to know something in order to continue writing, and I can’t just make a note to myself in the manuscript that says *fix later*. Sometimes I can. Sometimes I can’t. In those cases, I research until I have the answer. In fact, just the other day, I spent 10 minutes falling. Yes, that’s right, falling. I was trying to seriously injure my MC, but I wanted to find out the correct order of limbs hitting the ground, and how much force it would take to do the damage I needed. Thankfully, I also had the husband around to ask for input, seeing ask how he’s a karate expert (so says me) and works on falls in his training. This meant I didn’t have to resort to actually injuring myself in the process. Probably a good thing.
2) Trying to make sense of my outline. I outlined the general gist of things during October, but there are still moments/minutes/hours where I’m not entirely sure where things are going. Yes, I could just push through and write nonsense until I figure out where everyone should be – believe me, I’ve done this many times – but other times I’m just so unmotivated because I’m stuck, that I need to sit here and seriously think about how to get character so-and-so from Point A to Point C, with a side detour at Point B.
3) Making coffee. Hey, it takes time. Not a lot of time, but when you add all the coffees up…
4) Doing other work. Unfortunately, I still have some regular work to do. We’ve got a brand new website going up this week (last I heard, anyway), and I’m going to need to keep writing content for it so it can stay fresh, and there are a number of ongoing projects that need to be worked on in the meantime.
5) …reading? Actually, this hasn’t happened yet. I’ve hardly read a thing this month, but I have a plan: in order to edit this NaNo manuscript properly, I’m going to hold myself to a task of reading X number of YA books each week – this is so that I can re-familiarize myself with the genre, and ensure that I’m keeping the correct tone and pacing for the novel. Yes, I’ve read piles of YA books before, and at least 25 this year alone. However, now that I’m writing one… I need to stay in touch with the genre. So while I’m not spending time doing this right now, I’m actually going to have to schedule it in like work. This could be good or bad, depending on whether I can stick to the reading schedule or not (or just get caught up in reading and never get around to doing any work again…!).
And that’s that.
So, if someone were to ask me again how much time I actually spend writing each day, I’d answer: I’m at my desk all day, 9am until 4 or 5pm. I wake up at 7:30 so I can have time to drink my coffee, eat breakfast, and get all my emails & NaNoWriMo forum browsing out of the way before it’s time to buckle down and start writing.
See? That makes more sense. In other news: my caffeine intake has doubled/close to tripled in the last several days. If you’ve been following the Fuel Count, you’ll see what I mean. o_O It has been/continues to be “one of those weeks”.
NaNo Fuel Count
Cups of Black Coffee: 18
Lattes (cafe or home-made): 4
Mugs of Hot Chocolate: 2
Cups of Tea: 5
Cans of Bawls (energy drink): 2
Baked Goods: 7
Bowls of Ice Cream: 1
Mini Chocolate Bars: 17