I won’t lie. I had something else planned for today, but I’ve been in state of crisis the last few days over some new developments in my own writing life. It’s nothing I won’t get over, but because I’m in crisis, I’m talking about it. Besides, NaNoWriMo is right around the corner. Let’s make the most of this and talk about the Word Count Catch-Up so you can meet goals and deadlines.
I have a few methods that I turn to in times of desperation. Some are more brutal than others, but remember these are things I do on my own, use them if they help, ignore it if it’s not for you.
The first, is undoubtedly the most obvious. I call it, suck it up and write. Sometimes you just can’t think of the fear. You can’t think, “I’m falling behind now so I’m going to stay behind.” That thought is way too easy and it’s not helpful. You’re writing with a word count because you want to get writing done. Even if you don’t make it to the 50,000 or whatever your goal was, you wanted to write a good amount that month, so don’t fret about the stats. Just keep going. I pull out my laptop. Tell myself, “You have to write.” And I write.
If that doesn’t work, walk away. I don’t mean walk away from writing. Walk away from where ever you are that you’re not getting your writing done. Go into a quiet room and write there. Go to a coffee shop if that helps. Go to the library and put on headphones. Go somewhere to avoid distraction so you can have the time you need to catch up. Sometimes if I’m having trouble, I just keep walking. Friends who see me around will notice me sitting at 4 different coffee shops on the same day. I’ll write until my mind starts to wander and I’ll go somewhere else and start again. (Keep in mind, I’m like a 4 cups of tea a day kind of person – I know this isn’t for everyone).
Last but not least, write in sprints. Write for 15 minutes at a time. This is something always on the NaNoWriMo emails and it really really works. I’ll set a timer and every 15 minutes, it will go off and then I have to write for the next 15 minutes straight. You can do this all day. 15 minutes on, 15 off. I like increments of 15 minutes, but you can modify it to something that more fits with your schedule and writing endurance. When 15 minutes ends, I stop writing immediately. Sometimes I’m not even finished with the sentence I was writing. I turn off my writing music and go carry on with my day for the next 15 minutes, until I start writing again. I can usually write 400 words or so in every sprint, so it adds up fast. Usually in 2 hours, I’ll have finished the daily 1,667 words for NaNoWriMo and will still have the energy to keep writing beyond that.