One of the great things about NaNoWriMo is that it reminds me how to get stuff done.
It’s been awhile since I sat down to write a longer work of fiction.
This year has been filled to the brim with a couple of other web projects that called on me to write lots of blog posts, but nothing longer than a couple thousand words, max.
I’ve also done some flash fiction and short stories, but even those have mostly come in the last month or so, in the ramp up to November.
Now, though, with nearly a week of NaNoWriMo 2019 under my belt, I’ve got a lot of the rust blown out of my brain, and I’m really starting to remember what it’s like to crank out thousands of words a day.
And … I’m also remembering the techniques that have let me hit that level consistently in the past.
One of my favorites is writing in sprints … or spurts … or chutes … or whatever you want to call it.
The gist is, I open up all my editor, re-read a couple of my most recent paragraphs to immerse myself into the story again, set a timer, and type for all I’m worth until that thing dings.
Depending on what I have going on in my day at that point, I might take a few minutes of rest … walk around the house, get my eyes on something other than a computer screen, pet a dog.
Or I might just close up shop and go on to another obligation — depends on what’s happening.
If you’ve been writing for any length of time, or if you like to read and think about productivity, you might recognize this as a variant of the Pomodoro Technique. In my current implementation, I’m writing for 15-minute sprints before sliding into the “recovery” phase.
That’s a departure from the standard 25-minute Pomodoro focus session, but I’m not completely back “in shape” yet from a writing perspective, and I find my focus is super high during those 15 minutes.
Not hard at all to squeeze out 500 words during each sprint, and sometimes more.
There are all sorts of timers you can use, too, from a true, physical egg timer to a website like MarinaraTimer.com (my current go-to).
If you decide to give Pomodoro a shot for your NaNoWriMo project, let me know how it works out for you!