Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Combining 50k with the Day Job

50,000 words in only 30 days?

Broken down to 1667 words per day...it seems achievable. Especially when you're on a writing roll.

But sometimes the momentum just won't happen, the demands of the day job are too much, and the family just won't leave you alone to spend time with your characters. (What do you mean you'd rather spend time with your sexy hero than cook dinner?)

Here's some tips that have helpe me churn out 5ok in 30 days in the past and still stay awake (relatively) at the day job.

1. Keep your story and characters foremost in your mind.

- A small and inconspicuous notebook on your desk allows you to jot dialogue, scene ideas or outlines as you think of them (because we wouldn't be doing actual writing while we're supposed to be working, would we?). Your subconscious can do wonderful things when your conscious mind is busy with other tasks. And I don't know about you, but my subconscious mind always wants to escape the day job.

2. Pockets of time.

Seize those pockets of timeto write. 10 minutes at morning tea? Drink and write! Half hour lunch? Eat and write.

It's amazing how quickly the words can add up with little pockets of time.

3. Start your evening session by typing up your day's words.

This will get your head space back into your story. (And you're not breaking a rule - you're not re-reading, you're transcribing.)

4. If you can commit a long period of time to write - do so.

If not - WORD SPRINT! Set your timer for 15 minutes or 30 minutes and write like the blazes. Come online to the RWA group and find some fellow sprinters. Having someone to report too will motivate you.

5. Housework and cooking may all go by the wayside.

Believe me, the housework will still be there in July. Perhaps you can convince other to pick up the tasks when you slacken off and reorder your priorities. However, I find that by word sprinting, I can usually get the daily chores done in between sprints because I'm not spending hours in front of the computer thinking about what I want to write.

6. Write Fast!

Writing fast switches off your inner critic and turns on your muse. There's always time to edit in July.

7. Jump Ahead

If a scene is not working for you or your muse is filing her nails while you try and get those words out of your head and onto the page, jump ahead to another scene. If you keep thinking ahead to another scene, start writing it! Do what it takes to keep your muse amused! Sometimes it may lead to unexpected twists!

8. Turn off the TV

If there's anything you want to watch, then record it and use it as a reward at the end of the month, or a reward when you've hit your goal for the day.

9. A Month of Sundays

Well, we don't have a month of Sundays in June, but we do have five Sundays so one of them has to be a bonus! We start the month on a Sunday so aim to write more than an average day to give yourself a buffer zone for the rest of the month.

Don't do what I did last year Nanowrimo and write the finals 6000 words in three hours on the last night. That was extremely high pressure, and even though I had an online cheer squad, I recommend it only as a last resort.

So there's my tips. I hope they help you.

I'll be hanging around the RWA Nanowrimo Group looking for sprinting buddies.

See you on the track!


Anonymous said...

Soooo.... We're in the warm up room and my damn shoelace just broke! Then because I threw a tantrum (what self-respecting genius wouldn't?) I split my pants straight up the middle. My ass is now hangin out (it's damn chilly) and I'm in danger of tripping over, but nothing, I repeat, NOTHING is going to stop me from being on the starters blocks on Sunday.
Now's probably not a good time to mention that I don't have a day job (other than writing) and I have a maid so I don't need to worry about the housework or cooking dinner, is it? No, okay, quietly backing away.

Diane said...

Yeah, yeah, rub it in, why don't you?

Anonymous said...

Isn't that what I just did????
I could say it again if you like.

Sandie Hudson said...

Great post Diane and I'm sure that the ladies that do have day job's and young families will find it very heplful. I found it very helpful.

Okay so I don't have a day job like RC, and I don't have a young kids, but RC has a couple of those still at home (I think). But I don't have a maid or housekeeper so that must just about even us out.

Oh that's right I have the bloody horses that have to be feed while hubby is riding and training and teaching, so he can get inside before 9pm. Can I count them as kids?

I'm in getting organised mode. That is I'm getting my house in order. Cleaning, sorting, making plenty of room around my desk and computers ready to get into it on Sunday. YAYAYA.


Sandie Hudson said...

Oh forgot to add that I'm in on the word sprints.


Rachael Blair said...

Great article Diane - even though I've only got a very smallish part time job, I think much of this also applies to those of us at home with kidlets!


Rachael Blair said...

A maid??!!!

That is my DREAM!!

Angie said...

Extremely helpful hints, Diane, for those of us working day jobs and don't have a maid (looking pointedly at RC). Yes, a touch of envy here. LOL.

Anyways, as I was saying, thanks so much for the handy hints, Diane. I needed reminding about how to make it work this month. Hubby is domestically-challenged, so I'll have to resort to ignoring the housework and cooking during the month - well, as much as I can. Can't eat takeaways all month now, can I? :)


Diane said...

Angie, we usually don't eat much takeaway at all due to my partner's diabetes, but he's going to be away for half of the month so I'll be doing quick stirfrys and pastabakes. And pizzas on lebanese bread and then frozen make good quick meals too. Stuff that I don't have to watch every second.

Hopefully, the fact that he's away will give me more time to write but I'll have to limit the number of times he calls me - sometimes he calls me 5 times in a day.

Sandie - all animals count as kids. They can be just as demanding.

As for getting my house in order, I rediscovered the dining room table last weekend, so hopefully I can keep that clear all month for my word sprints. It's much easier to type fast with the laptop on the table instead of leaning on my knees while I recline on the lounge.

Natalie Hatch said...

I am giving my tweens extra pocket money if they'll take up the slack for me while I write... so instead of $5 pocketmoney, if they vacuum, and put on another load of washing they get $10... perhaps I should put a list up of things that must be done and put a price list beside each job. You want money? Earn it..
Other than that I'm right to go. I think. I've been reading assassin books to try and understand a man's point of view. I don't want my hero coming off as a metrosexual whimp. Especially if he comes from a military background.
As for a Maid? Rachel, now that's just not fair. One day I'll have a maid and a big house that looks like it's come straight from Beautiful Homes magazine... white couches and walls... the kitchen will be immaculate.... dream on!! I have prints to wipe off walls, bits of bickie hidden under coffee tables and chairs, bits of tissue embedded in the carpet... I'm loving life really I am.

Sussan Marz said...

Diane, thanks for the post. I've got a day job but since I work mostly from home with DH, it's not exactly 9 to 5. He talks non-stop - I have to ask him to leave me alone sometimes and I hate doing that :-).

Right, no housework - I think I'm good with that one.

RC - I'm jealous! I think I might move to Singapore.

Natalie, how much to clean a bathroom? Are you reading Barry Eisler by any chance?

Anonymous said...

Hey, I did the prints on walls, bits of bickie hidden between the lounge cushions! I did my time. I had 4 under 7 and didn't work outside the house for about 12 years, not that they'd let me out the demanding little cherubs. When I finally got out and got a job I loved Hubby up and moves us to another country! I gave up two cars, tons of friends I'd had for years, a big five bedroom house I designed, a job I loved, family, my eldest child! I think I've earned my maid. LOL

Amanda Reynolds-Smith said...

Oh RC - I agree you've earned your maid...what a change/adjustment!!!!!

I have 3 under 4 and just find myself on the back foot EVERY day - so it is so refreshing that there are those like me and those that have been there!!!!

Can I tell everyone I am scared scared scared... I am with RC's first post - I am looking around at my house (disaster zone) and knowing I can't get it sorted before Sunday (which means my brain will be a little out of whack as I hate working in mess - LET IT GO (I'll keep chanting that to myself and see what happens!)although my husband is really very good... he is a high rank in the Police and busy on committees etc etc for World Youth Day - bloody hell!!! So he is going to be mostly AWOL for June... I have booked the older two kids into an extra day preschool - so I will now have 3 days with one cherub (who can't yet move.. however, will probably be able to by the end of June!)

My son is going in to hospital second week in June for an ear op... and blah blah blah - it goes on and on.... - HOWEVER,
Diane - your post has somewhat quelled my nerves... AND I really really want to do this... I want to go to the conference with a semblence of an MS so I can apply what I learn....!!

I think the biggest problem for me is I haven't sat and planned everything as I had hoped... I don't have my black moment completely sorted - I have to identify most of my heroine's GMC (elements are very elusive) I have my hero sussed but that is about it... I know how I want the story to start - some thoughts on a couple of elements that will occur and a fuzzy picture covered in mist about what may be the end - but that is it??!!!! How do I write with just that I ask myself... well, I JUST WRITE I guess is the answer?!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Any more helpful hints and posts will be greatly appreciated... I am going to go look at the sprints soon!


Natalie Hatch said...

Oh Amanda, we're all like that. I think I know what my black spot will be but then I find as I start writing things change and what I thought would happen in the story doesn't, it's replaced by something better because the characters tell me that there's no way what I thought would happen could be possible in their world... So don't fret, oh and remember I said this when I'm fretting that my characters aren't doing what they're supposed to and I'm going out of my brain!!

Natalie Hatch said...

Sussan, um $2 for washing bath/shower and putting all washing in basket and toddling it downstairs.
And yes, I am! He's now my friend... (cheesy grin rolls out across my face)on facebook at least..

Diane said...

Amanda, I'm glad the post helped you. Don't try to figure everything out before you start - as Natalie commented things can change as you write, and you need to let the process be organic at some point.

Natalie - bribery to do chores? - I like it. You never know, your kids might have a work ethic going by the end of June.

Rach, I think you have earned the maid! I don't think I could give up my real life writer friends and move away.

lesleyinfreo said...

Three days down and I am nearly ready for bed and only 4,317 words - including the long w/e. And on top of that I have no idea how to update my word meter.

Tomorrow and Thursday I have a two day seminar for work. Tomorrow I am on my feet presenting on strategic planning but Thursday I plan to fine a place among the disaffected and listen intently to quality improvement while writing about how a famous jewel gets stolen and how that derails the emerging romance between my hero and heroine. It will all be handwritten and I will have to retype it but at least I will get some words.

good luck to everyone