A month from today, National Novel Writing Month begins. Sadly, I won’t be participating in it this year, as I’ll be heavy into edits for my next release, “Cards From Khloe’s Flower Shop,” but I have some advice to give.
As a two-time winner of NaNoWriMo, having completed two manuscripts, I highly recommend submerging your mind and heart into taking the time to write a novel in 30 days. Yes, it can be stressful, you won’t sleep much, a whirlwind of emotions will run through your head, and copious amounts of coffee and/or tea will be drank, but it will be worth it. After all, all you have to do is write 1,667 words a day…sounds easy, right?
My past with NaNoWriMo:
The first time I participated, felt an overwhelming joy that “The Right Design” had been written. Whew! I finished on day 30, and all I wanted to do was sleep. I had missed spending time with family and friends over the Thanksgiving holiday, but everyone understood what my goal was, and they were supportive. I’m very grateful to say that I wrote my first published book during NaNoWriMo.
The following year, I participated again, and this time I knew what to expect out of the 30-day writing marathon. I couldn’t wait! Being a paster in the past, I grabbed my notebook, wrote an outline and started writing. Feeling good on that first day, I wrote just over the daily target. Go me, I thought. However, things changed when the hubby came home. That’s when he decided to challenge me to 3,000 a day. “Fine,” I told him, accepting the offer. Well, on day 17, I printed my second completed MS, which is “Cards From Khloe’ Flower Shop.” The second time around wasn’t as difficult because of my outline, and though, at times, it was quite intimidating knowing that 3,000 words would have to be written, I pushed on. I’m so glad I did, because as of right now, I have to say this is my favorite story I’ve written, and I cannot wait to share it with y’all!
The Pomodoro Technique:
I’m the type of person who stresses, especially when multitasking. So, while I was editing “The Right Design,” I decided to buy a kitchen timer at my grocery store. Yes, I could set the timer on my phone, but to cut back on distractions, the kitchen timer works much better. I came home, set the time for 35 minutes, and go to work. By using this method that I came up with, it helped me stay focused, and not get overwhelmed. For those 35 minutes, it was just myself and my characters, and we were having a blast!
It wasn’t until recently that I learned that what I’ve been doing all along (except for adding 10 minutes to the timer) was actually called something, The Pomodoro Technique. While I’m working on “Cards From Khloe’s Flower Shop,” I set my timer for 25 minutes, and get to work, with taking the occasional breaks. My favorite thing about using this technique is that even when I have writer’s block, it helps me just get something down, and that’s usually when my mind begins to snowball with ideas. Just recently I found out that The Pomodoro Technique has an app for the iPhone (you can also get this app on the MacBooks, too), and have replaced it with my kitchen timer. As for cutting out distractions by using the iPhone app, I’ve learned to press the pause button if needed, and try to aim for 6 sessions of 25 minutes.
All Together Now:
I encourage you to give The Pomodoro Technique a try when you’re participating in NaNoWriMo. All you have to do is, set your timer for 25 minutes, take a 5 minute break, and repeat until you’ve written your 1,667 (or more) words a day! Yes, it’s just that easy! Think about it like this, it’s 5 minutes shorter than an episode of “Friends.”
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In closing, I’d love to hear back from you on December 1st, and tell me how using The Pomodoro Technique worked for you during NaNoWriMo!