I am officially a first-time survivor of National Novel Writing Month.
I thought I would come out of this with some seriously awesome lessons learned, and I have. The thing is I thought they would be lessons along this line:
MOM WAS WRONG
As it turns out, all good things happen after midnight.
It’s not really as necessary as you think.
However, I can’t really say I learned either of these things. I showered as often as I usually do (don’t ask, it’s not as often as it should be), the dishes stayed at a fairly manageable pile level, and the vast majority of my writing was done before two in the afternoon. Learn I did, though, and I thought I would share my favorite gems.
1. IT IS POSSIBLE (AND NECESSARY) TO TWIST YOUR OWN ARM
There was a lot of this going on during November, and I was surprised. Surely, I told myself, having not just myself, but also DB committed to my getting 2000 words a day in will give me the glorious freedom I need to WRITE WRITE WRITE as much as I want to!
But I didn’t want to as much as I thought I would.
Turns out that even pursuing your dreams isn’t all sunshine and roses. All those Hallmark movies lied to me. Who knew? I always had a fairly realistic idea of what motherhood would be like, so the hard work entailed in that particular dream weren’t surprising. My utter lack of motivation to write on most days when I was trying to force 6 days a week out of myself was.
When I kept pushing through, however (thanks to DB the whip-holder on some days), I found that it could still be done. And the more often I pushed through with sheer grit, the more often I found myself having the days where I couldn’t wait to get to my computer. I am becoming a self-arm-twising ninja thanks to NaNoWriMo!
2. COUNTING WORKS ON MORE THAN TODDLERS
When my children are not doing what they should be or are about to do something they oughtn’t, they get a warning of the consequences to come. If they don’t stop, I start counting to three. Generally speaking I never make it past two before said child backs down.
Turns out I operate the same way.
Set a timer for ten minutes of writing (a goal of good behavior), make it so it creates really super obnoxious noises if I don’t write (warning of consequences), then flash really bright red lights at me if I’m not writing enough (count of three) before screaming at me with said obnoxious noise if I still don’t write (PUNISHED!). This works seriously well. Fortunately for me, I didn’t have to set up this entire gig; Dr. Wicked over at Write or Die has a program that does just this. With the threat of punishment hanging over my head, I was able to complete my daily writing alottment in 45 minutes to an hour.
I think I’m going to apply this wisdom to other jobs in my life. Need to cook dinner? 15 minutes on the egg timer! Dishes? 10 minutes! Vacuum? 5! Who wants to see if I can find my entire list of groceries in THREE MINUTES?!? Pregnant mommy at a dead run, kids plastered to the inside of the cart, innocent employees flying everywhere!
Watch out, WalMart. I have an egg timer and I’m not afraid to use it.
3. I HAVE TIME. LOTS OF IT.
Speaking of time, it turns out that there are a lot more hours in the day than I thought. I was under the impression that I would be killing myself, trying to add these 2,000 words. As it turns out, I have plenty of time. I just don’t use it as wisely as I thought.
Being that I’ve always considered myself to be pretty darn good at time management, that was a hard one to admit. NaNo makes me think that it wouldn’t hurt me to track my time for a week or so and see how I’m actually using it, to make sure it’s really going somewhere I want it to. After all, it’s not like I can get more minutes for my days out of the bank or something.
So, NaNo, thanks for the lessons, and for the novel. And for this really goofy video that I’m still laughing about.
It was a good November.