NaNo Update #3: Writing All Over the Place

The challenge of writing 1,667 words a day that comes with competing in the National Novel Writing Month means writers must seize every opportunity to put words on the page. A writer who has become accustomed to writing in the same work space at the same time might not be able to stick with his habits.

I have written in more places than ever this month: at the library, at coffee shops, and even at a café where I only had a half-hour of writing time.

I’ve done little writing at home since I lost my writing space recently. In early November I was writing most of my NaNo novel at the local library. On Veterans Day, the library was closed, so I hunkered down at a nearby Starbucks. I only had two hours to write but I managed to crank out 2,400 words.

Our regional group has sponsored several writing sessions at different locations. I’ve learned no matter where I write, I can zone out the distractions. An i-pod and ear buds help. Our Na No group also does “writing wars.” Our leader sets a timer for 15 minutes and we just write. Whoever produces the greatest number of words wins. I am consistently between 445 and 475 words.

Here are some lessons I’ve learned this month:

  • There’s no such thing as having too little time to write. A thirty-minute block can be enough to produce 500 to 1,000 words.
  • Take your laptop everywhere. You never know when an opportunity will present itself.
  • Good writers can write nearly anywhere. I’ve written in five different places this month. It’s all about training one’s self to focus and filter out any distractions.
  • The daily word count creates enormous pressure, but motivates the writer to produce work he would not otherwise generate.

There are seven days to go and I am at 44,000 words—6,000 words from the finish line.

 Does it matter where you write? Can you adapt your habits to meet a deadline?



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16 responses to “NaNo Update #3: Writing All Over the Place

  1. I write exclusively at home – other than a time when we had people working on something in our house, and then I tried our local bookstore (they had a TV on and that bothered me), and the other time in the library, which was great!


  2. I write primarily at home, but have written on lunch at my work place, on vacation, at coffee shops and libraries. Of course, home is still the most comfortable. 🙂 I need to relearn the lesson about taking advantage of those little bursts of time (like a half hour) and just getting some words down. Congrats on your progress – I’m sure you’ll cross the finish line with no trouble!

    • Amy,
      Thanks for your comment. Writers are very picky about their work spaces and I used to be the same way. NaNo has taught me to be adaptable. I’m at 46,000 words today and headed for the finish line. Thanks again for your comment.

  3. Grabbing minutes here and there is essential to keeping up with the word count!
    Happy Pages,

  4. Thanks to being a commuter in college with classes on several campuses, I never learned to get precious with my writing space– still, if it weren’t for NaNo, I wouldn’t have written while in the laundromat last week!

  5. To the finish line and BEYOND! Nice…

  6. CG, first, GO YOU– great progress and dedication during NaNo. Second, hugs and friendship, because life is rocky and sometimes we need both.

    We have been down a car so I’ve mostly been confined to writing at home. I have a lovely space with an inspiring view, so no whining allowed. But I miss the energy a coffee shop or library can provide. Sometimes I get more done in an external location, sans the “to dos” of home, than I do in my own study.

    Let me know if you need a CP or beta when the time is right.


    • Julie,
      Thanks for the support and the hugs. Life has been rocky this year for me, but it will be better in 2013.

      And thanks for your offer to be a beta reader. I’m willing to do the same for you when your MS is ready.

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