Finding Balance

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Photo courtesy of Google search: “Balance Artwork”

Today I’m talking about a topic I often forget to ensure for myself. Both in my personal and working life. Balance is key. Even more so for NaNoWriMo.

Balance, or the lack thereof, can be the difference between failure and success.

Really, I could probably write a series of blog posts on ways to find balance and how important it is to have balance, and maybe I will someday.  For now, I’m going to stick to the idea of applying it to NaNoWriMo.

So many times I’ve met inspiring writers who haven’t done NaNoWriMo with the excuse of: “I’m just too busy.”

Okay. Well here’s what I say to that:

I’m a mother of three. Two of my children are special needs and the third has ADHD and a heart condition. I’m continuously a referee, doctor, audience, cheerleader, snuggler, maid, chef, etc. with very little time to “not think” about anything that has to have a snappy decision.

I’m also a freelance editor and an indie author (which is a full-time job in and of itself with marketing, promoting, social networking, etc.), and do promos for indie authors. I hold the position of youth coordinator for the Kansas Writer’s Association (which is still a position I’m adjusting to and a new-ish one for the organization).

Though I’m still unsure of completing NaNoWriMo, I’m doing it. I’m working on it every chance I can.

My point is: we all lead busy lives. We all have our challenges and things that take time away from us. But, if I can do it, you can too!

One thing I must be clear on: there are, and always will be, days where there won’t be any writing done. It’s a fact of life. And that’s okay. However, if you want to try to do NaNoWriMo bad enough (or even write outside of November), then I have some advice that may help you achieve that dream of being a novelist without loosing any sleep!

  1. Set priorities correctly. Create a list. Put the things that are most important on the top of the list and work your way down. Can the dusting wait until the weekend? If so, put it at the bottom of the list. Things like that.
  2. Set small, daily goals that are easily achieved. Some people outline their novels before NaNoWriMo and some don’t. But if you have an idea on where you want your novel to go, you can set a word count goal. Typically the daily wordcount set by NaNoWriMo is 1667 words per day. It’s not a lot, but when you are pressed for time, it can be difficult to make it. Or if you have deadlines you have to meet, you can break them down into smaller steps. Complete a goal? Reward yourself with 5-10 minutes of writing.
  3. Schedule your time for optimum use. I have an hourly planner that I use to keep track of appointments, promos that need scheduled, social media time, etc. I know how long it takes me to get these things done and I’ve scheduled them accordingly. Doing this has given me additional “down time” to work on my project.  It’s easy to get into once you’ve figured out how much time is needed where. I’m much more proficient now. It’s important to note that this isn’t a rigid schedule either. I can move things around as necessary. It’s good to change things up a bit. Saves me from the monotony.

If you follow these tips, you’d be well on your way to finding that balance to help you get to writing. I bet you’d be surprised at what you could do with an hour of writing. Go ahead and give it a try!

We all lead busy lives. “It’s the nature of the beast,” my father in law would always say. But, if you are willing, and apply my tips (maybe even a few of your own), I bet your dreams of becoming a novelist will be that much closer to a reality.

NaNoWriMo is about setting a goal to write a novel in 30 days or less with hundreds of thousands of people around the world. If you balance your time just right, you could find yourself pleasantly surprised with just how much more you can do. And hey, you never know when that novel from November will turn into the next big thing.

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