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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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