This year I am gearing up to take NaNoWriMo on for the first time. I found out about it last year but I was blogging rather than working on a novel at the point. Wanting to find out more about it I met up with a local Geelong group, which was an encouraging experience. Having had a pretty big break from working on my novel after homeschooling my oldest son for a term and then moving house, I am keen to see if I can make make up for some of the lost time. In order to maximize my chances for success at NaNoWriMo I have devised the following action plan.
1) Get up earlier
Set an alarm so that I get up half an hour to an hour before the kids do and designate this as me time. Use this time to pray, meditate, stretch, or just stare out the window and sip my coffee while enjoying the serenity (and smelling the two-stroke.)
2) Do the housework in the morning and stop at the stroke of ten. I find that doing a few hours of housework in the morning is great for me because:
* I can get quite a bit of cleaning done while my brain is still asleep.
* It helps me to wake up.
* I am able to keep on top of things just enough so that I don’t go crazy and need to binge clean, which is often just my way of procrastinating from my writing.
3) Clean only one room or do one big job per day and leave it at that.
I don’t think I’m excessively tidy but I do find it hard to function with a clear head if the environment around me is too chaotic. I also like to feel that I’m setting a good example for my boys to look after what you have and to be considerate of the people that you share space with. It’s not possible to have your house look like a better homes and gardens magazine and find the time to write, unless you can afford to pay someone to clean, but it is possible to strike a balance.
By sorting out one room or picking one big job per day (like vacuuming or putting away that enormous pile of laundry)
*I find that I’m able to stop things getting too out of hand.
*I’m able to get that high that comes from having achieved something, it’s a little bit like finishing a short story, Okay so it’s not a whole novel, but it's still complete within itself and that feels good.
*I can hang out in that clean space and feel good about it. If the parlor is wonderfully clean with the silver candlesticks shining and the chandlers sparkling, then I’m quite happy to have my tea and crumpets in there, even if the rest of the manor is in a shambles.
4) Prepare the evening meal in the morning.
After school times in my house are kind of crazy, my oldest son needs help to do his homework, while my youngest seems to suddenly want more of my attention and the two of them want to play/kill each other. All I feel like doing by this time of the day is putting my feet up and watching something mind numbingly trashy while sipping a dessert flavored cocktail (not what I actually, do of course). About this time I start doing the “five more minutes and I’ll start cooking thing.” Before I know it my poor hardworking husband is home and is tentatively asking, “Um honey, have you given any thought to dinner?” Which is always frustrating because blood is hard to clean out of the carpet. If I cook dinner ahead of time I can have it reheated and ready to dish up the moment hubby comes home. Everyone is much happier and it means we don’t end up fat and broke from living on takeaway.
5) Have a two week meal plan.
Plaining what I am going to cook for the week saves me a lot of time when it comes to shopping, it also means that when it’s time to prepare dinner I don’t get stuck with no idea what to cook. It’s a bit of extra effort upfront that makes life much easier in the long run. I started by brainstorming a list of things that my family like to eat and things that I am confident to cook, because it’s much more realistic than coming up with a list of fancy meals that may be hard to cook and the kids might spit on the floor. It’s also easier to be motivated to cook if you have everything you need on hand.
6) Do the grocery shopping online and have it delivered.
This is something I do all the time now, but I only started earlier this year because I wanted to give myself more writing time. I recommend that you sit down and do step four first, as it will provide you with a shopping list. It’s also a good idea to clean out the cupboards and the fridge and get rid of stuff that you bought on a whim or for a one off dish that if you will never actually make again. Cooking is much easier with organized cupboards, partially if you don’t have a massive walk in pantry like some ahh, lucky people. Setting up an account and doing the first few shops can take a bit of mucking around and take it can take time to get the hang of it (you might order ten bags of oranges when you wanted ten oranges.)
Shopping on line:
7) Exercise at home.
You already know that exercise is good for you and that it will help your writing. But why use time and money going to the gym when you can do it at home? Plus you don’t have to be embarrassed if you are still in your PJ’s and Ugg boots at lunch time. Although it is useful to be set up to watch Youtube on your TV, you can always get hold of a few exercise DVD’s. Or just set aside half an hour to whack on some music and dance around the lounge room with the kids and do some stretches, (just watch out that they don’t body slam you, like a WWF wrestler, the instant you get down on the floor, the little darlings love doing that.) I a play list of exercise videos and some dance music that always helps to get me in mood for exercising on my Youtube channel which you can find at this link, exercise play list (there is a little bit of strong langue in the dance music play list .)