Write in the Midst of a Busy Life (Gearing Up for NaNoWriMo)

Even all these years in, I still go through periods when I think it: that I’m too tired, too frazzled, too worried about something to be able to write properly.

And then I tell myself to just shut up.

Everybody works differently, and there’s no one right way. But for me, I do better if I carve some time out each day. I no longer swear by daily marathon writing sessions that used to make up the bulk of my day. I just plain can’t write for ten-plus hours a day. There’s too much going on in a busy household. Dinners and dog-walking and lawn mowing and license plate renewing and…

You know. You have all the same stuff to do.

But I’m better off if I carve out something, like I said. Half an hour, even. There’s usually some section of the day that’s quieter, even in the most chaotic of households. Maybe really early in the morning. Maybe around lunch. Maybe mid-morning, after you drop the kids off at school. Maybe in the afternoon, while the kids are doing homework and before you have to put dinner on. In my own house, it’s post-dinner. I can actually get a few hours of work in, between about seven and eleven (when my dog needs his last round of meds for the day).

When you write in short bursts, the hardest part is keeping your train of thought going. The best way I’ve found to keep my momentum going?

Write Out of Order

Write scenes. Don’t worry about the order of events. Don’t worry about the narrative thread linking it all together. Just write scenes. Action scenes. Love scenes. Scenes of characters meeting. Write all the pivotal events.

Do a NaNoWriMo-Style Challenge

It’s coming up anyway, but why not do your own NaNoWriMo-style challenge? Tell yourself you’ll write 40-50K words of scenes in a month. The point of NaNoWriMo is to just get it down, right? Great! Draft your scenes. Do it in a month. Then slide the pieces (ahem, chapters) into place, linking them all with a narrative thread. (Tip: This part works much easier in a writing program like Scrivener. I haven’t drafted a book in Word in ages.)

The Point Is…

Every house is loud. And busy. Laundry baskets are always full and cars are always leaking oil. There are always repairs and chores. It’s true for everyone, even professional writers. There is absolutely no perfect time to write. There just isn’t. But there are plenty of great snatches of time in the midst of all the chaos, when you can write some surprisingly lovely stuff.

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