Wednesday, November 4, 2009

How to Succeed at NaNoWriMo Using Endurance Training

How to Succeed at NaNoWriMo Using Endurance Training
By Christy Goldfeder

I trained for and competed in a sprint triathlon (½ mile swim, 14 mile bike ride, 5k run) a couple of years before I took on NaNoWriMo. For some crazy reason, I thought that competing in an endurance race at the crack of dawn would be easier than writing 50,000 words. That’s how powerful the fear of the blank page was for me – and can be for many writers.

But while writing 50,000 in 30 days sounds like an impossible feat, in reality it is much easier than you think. All you need to do is break it down like you would if you were training for an endurance event such a triathlon.

1 – Break it down: When you divide 50,000 words by 30 days, you’ll see that you need to write about 1667 words per day to meet your goal. If you’re a professional writer, how often do you write a 1,500 – 2000 word piece? You probably crank out a few of those per week. Ok - maybe with NaNoWriMo you’re writing 50% more than you usually end up writing in a week.

With my sprint triathlon training, I figured out that I would have to run 2-3 miles a few days a week, swim ¼ mile a few days per week and bike 10 – 15 miles a couple days a week. And I still needed to have some rest in between workout sessions.

2 – Create your blocks or “bricks”: Block out your writing time so that you know you can get it done. I prefer to write in the early mornings when I’m writing longer pieces. Setting your alarm clock for an hour earlier than you usually get up can give you that quiet time that you need to do your work. Or, if you’re a night owl, set up some late-night writing time.

When I trained for the tri, I doubled up my workouts – for example, swimming at 7:00 am and running at 7:00 pm. By the end of training, I would double up workouts into bricks – e.g., running, then swimming – so that I’d get use to switching sports. Doubles and bricks are tiring, but they helped me get my miles in and still have two days off to recover.

3 – Plan for “recovery” days: There may be times when you know you won’t be able to write during the month of November. If you want to take Thanksgiving Day off, just make sure that you can get those words in some other day. If you plan to write more words earlier in the month, you’re more likely to meet your 50,000 word quota by the deadline.

Remember, the beauty of NaNoWriMo is that you don’t actually have to publish your novel by the deadline – you can take a few months to edit and turn it into a work of art.
The other benefit is that after writing consistently for 30 days, you might just find yourself with a new good writing habit.

So don’t be afraid to write freely and just see what happens in your novel when you participate in NaNoWriMo – enjoy it, have fun, and remember that it’s just a game.

Guest blogger Christy Goldfeder is a copywriter working with professionals to grow their businesses through clearer marketing and online strategies. She’s also a holistic health counselor empowering busy people to easily lose weight and gain more energy without stress or struggle. She writes about nutrition and wellness at here Follow her on twitter: Click here

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