NaNoWrimo in Midterms: Finding Writing Time

So I’m doing NaNoWriMo this month, and for me, finding writing time can be an honest struggle. Between school, the increasing amounts of homework, sudden midterms and all the fun stuff that comes with getting ready to apply to universities, I have even less time than usual for writing. And then there’s my, uh, motivation (read: Alex has ADHD) issues, which only add to this problem.

Luckily, because I’m doing the Young Writers’ Program instead of the regular NaNoWriMo, my word count goal is a (hopefully) achievable 20,000 words instead of 50,000 words. As of this writing (4 PM on a Sunday), I’m at about 6500 words. That’s not exactly ideal, but I’m still on track. And compared to the fact that my last novel took over a year to write, 6500 words in a week (and roughly 28,000 words since September) is pretty fricken’ awesome for me. Especially with all the senior year stress.

But it’s not easy. I wish it was, trust me. Unfortunately, I’m not one of those people who can crank out 3000 words in an hour. My original stories have never flowed that easy. Twice, I’ve written fanfictions that did—one 10,000 words and another 15,000, both in a single weekend—but if you asked me how that happened, I don’t have an answer for you. It just did. Word vomit, I guess. It’s easier to write a story where you already know all the rules (either that or I broke my brain.) Plus, even if the words did flow that easy, my fingers get crampy and sore if I type too much. Those weekend marathon fanfictions? My fingers hurt for almost a week after. And I had a three-page midterm violin solo to practice for these past couple weeks, so my fingers are already not faring that well. But even with all this stuff, I manage to find writing time by—wait for it—budgeting my time.

{cue shriek from some distant universe}

I know. I used to be with you—ew, budgeting time. Gross. And any of my family and friends know that I may just be one of the most unscheduled and disorganized people ever in terms of time but somehow. But truth is, it actually works for me. (I know. It’s weird for me too.)

So I budget my time super carefully. I write out daily schedules—1:35 PM: homework; 2:45 PM: study for history test; 3:10 PM: exercise, etc.—and I try to follow them as best as possible. (Realistically, I’m behind schedule almost every day, but still. It’s the thought that counts, right?)

So along with a couple hours of homework and studying, I try and budget an hour or so for writing, usually at about the same time each day. Sometimes it’s only a half hour. Sometimes, on weekends, it’s an hour and a half or even two hours. And so far, it seems to be the thing that works.

(She says, over half an hour behind schedule.)

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