There is a lot that goes into making yourself successful. You know, of course, that success isn’t going to fall into your lap. We have to work really hard at it. And one thing we can do to help ourselves is make sure that our environment is right.
Let’s take a quick look back at me in college. I was writing papers every week, reading six or seven chapters a week, doing other homework assignments, test prep, and studying, and working part time. How the heck does any college student manage getting all of that done? Well, it wasn’t easy. My first year I struggled because (you guessed it) my environment wasn’t right. See, I was always in my room to do my homework. You know, the place I slept, watched TV, ate snacks, and hung out with friends. Oh, and I didn’t get along with my roommate. Year two, I started experimenting and realized that the library was great for me. By year three, I was writing my papers almost exclusively in the library. Even in year four, when I had a room to myself and was working on my senior paper, I was at the library to work.
Choosing the right place to write is as essential as having the time or the motivation. And the reason why goes back to distractions. In the library, I could find a secluded spot, ignore the internet, and get to work.
So be sure to choose a good space for yourself for NaNo. For some people, noise is helpful. You may want to choose a public place. For others like me, quiet is essential. Try to make yourself space in the house (or even a quiet spot in the campus library). But experiment and find the right space for you. It will do wonders.
Next time: Choose a protagonist
Let me say first thing: this one came from a Writer’s Digest article by Grant Faulkner.
Mr. Faulkner says that to complete NaNoWriMo, we will need about 2 hours a day to write. My reaction? A little something like this:
not my picture, of course, if it’s yours and you want credit, just let me know
I’m easily distractible. A noise that’s a little too loud throws me into an irritable tail-spin. Someone talking to me when I’m in the middle of writing something completely derails my train of thought. So what I really need is 2 uninterupted hours a day, which really isn’t practical. So I’m going to break it into 4 half-hour chunks. You could, of course, divide it further, but there comes a point when dividing is impractical.
Okay, so back to Mr Faulkner. He says that we should track how we use our time for one week, looking at time we spend online, to time at work, to everything else.
We can probably cut our time one facebook from an hour to 5 minutes. And cut the phone games altogether. Oh, and the time on Netflix? What do we really get from that anyway? (Seriously, I feel like it sucks my life away and demotivates me from doing ANYTHING.)
So go for it. This week, keep track of how you are spending your time. And then see what you can replace with writing.
Next time: Choose your Space
That’s right, clean. If you are anything like me, you let the mess in the house build for two weeks and then do a crazy weekend of organizing, scrubbing, and general tidying. That’s really not a good way to tidy your place (be it a single room, an apartment, or an actual house).
Okay, so what does that have to do with NaNo? Messes are distracting. Especially when you are facing a huge goal with a deadline looming closer with every minute. What do we do when we have deadlines? Procrastinate. Especially if we have a nice, distracting thing to clean, fix, or figure out.
So to avoid that distraction/procrastination, get it out of the way before November. Yes, of course throughout the month there will be other things that you have to clean, but if the big problems are out of the way, it will take less of your time, leaving more for writing.
EXTRA TIP: Make meal plans and freeze meals. If you are an adult or usually make your own meals, do so in advance. Even just knowing what you will make each day of the week (or who will be cooking it) will help you plan for writing. And, if you can do healthy, home-cooked meals, that will help your brain power!
Next time: Time Hunt