Here is a breakdown of my morning during Nanowrimo last year:
- 09.15: Arrive at coffee shop – late, of course. Put bike away, go stand in the coffee line.
- 09.20: Juggle hot coffee glass from hand to hand. Why do they always have to serve it in a glass? Haven’t they heard of mugs? With handles? Find writing nook, with already-present writing buddy. Hug writing buddy, exchange pleasantries.
- 09.30: Turn on computer during casual chatting with writing buddy. Gossip about work, university, bosses, and so on.
- 09.35: Fellow wrimo has found picture of adorable cat. Awwww! See writing buddy’s pictures of her actual cats. Norwegian forest cats are the best! Watch video of cats playing.
- 9.45: open Scrivener. Stare at empty slot.
- 9.50: open previous Scrivener chapter for inspiration. Complain to fellow wrimo about the difficulties of finding inspiration. Agree to a 30-minute challenge.
- 10.00: Finally settle on a good song to listen to on repeat.
- 10.20: compare notes. Both of you have around 500 words. Compare more cat photos.
- 10.30: with regrets, head down to university. Swear that more writing will be done tomorrow.
Sometimes I wonder how I managed to win last year. I’m going to have to be way more disciplined this year – not because I won’t win if I don’t follow a tight schedule, but because I’ll stop working on my thesis to finish Nanowrimo, And that will essentially doom my master’s degree.
The biggest reason I do Nanowrimo is because I get to hang out with other writers a lot. It helps me to hear their problems and look over and see that they’re being productive, and I should be too. If I didn’t have my writing group, I could pick any month to write a novel. March is looking pretty good – I’ll be out of a job, finished with university studies – why not write a book in March? Because it just wouldn’t be the same.
At the same time, seeing these people ends in less of a word count than I want. And probably need. I always end up with at least one day during Nanowrimo when I have to write at least 10,000 words. One memorable Thanksgiving with my American family, I got up at 6 AM, wrote 20,000 words before Thanksgiving dinner, and 10,000 after we rolled home. Kids, don’t try that at home. Seriously. I already did, and it was disastrous.
So. My biggest distraction, when I get down to it, is the presence of people who are supposed to be focused and writing, like me. Any other wrimos – are you meeting up with fellow wrimos in your region? What sorts of distractions do you dread during our great writing blitz? And for people not doing Nanowrimo this year, do you meet up regularly with writing groups? What distractions kill your word count most?
- Nano cat distracts, yet simultaneously calls attention to the fact that we should probably be attempting to lessen our mediocrity.