NaNoWriMo: I don’t think I can ever go back!

This October I decided to make some adjustments to my routine in order to become more productive during NaNoWriMo. The reality of the extra hours I’d be spending at my dest was not lost on me. I needed a way to keep my ideas and my schedule together.

Like most writers, I’ve almost always had a writer’s notebook of some kind. I actually go the idea from Harriet The Spy when I was a kid. And so I have notes and notebooks going back years, full of observations, poems (i was so dramatic back then) and the most hideous attempts at drawings you’d ever want to see. I also have calendars, some big, some small, all of them only half filled with dates, appointments, deadlines, and schedules. It never occurred to me to put the two together.

Crazy talk, right?

I mean a writer’s notebook is a free-form space, a collection of ideas and images. And a planner is where you create order out of the chaos of life.

I stumbled Into BuJo and Can’t Get Out!

Well, this October I was inspired to put the two together. It was a video I happened upon some NaNoWriMo prep videos where writers were planning their November in their bullet journals. I thought, that looks cool and also way too structures for my lazy behind. But then I saw another video talking about how bullet journaling can be totally useful for people who have ADHD because it creates order without trying to eliminate the chaos.

So I know I wasn’t really into the whole BuJo thing like two posts ago but after struggling a LOT LESS this November I am sold. I’m a Bujo Girl these days, and it’s not just for the pretty pages.

I started writing Morning Pages.

I added the practice of Morning Pages. For those who don’t know what Morning Pages are, they are three pages of stream of consciousness writing to be done as soon as you get up every day. I decided to add this practice to an already writing-heavy schedule in order to keep the fountain of ideas and creativity flowing right to the end.

At first, I noticed that my mind was just a lot more clear in the morning since I dumped all of the “stuff” from the previous day into my journal and let it go. By the second week, I noticed that brainstorming got easier. Without the clutter of my real life, I was able to let creative ideas flow through me.

By week three I realized that I understood myself and my motivations better. I began to think about my life and plans differently, and I found myself thinking more deeply about what kind of life I wanted to build. It was shocking and shameful in some ways. While I had been hyper-focused in some areas of my life, others had completely withered away.

So, will I keep doing morning pages? Well, three pages every morning can be a bit cumbersome. But, I rediscovered the power of journaling every day so I will definitely keep journaling every morning in much the same way. It sweeps the cobwebs away and makes all the writing for the rest of the day easier to accomplish.

The lesson here is that brains are for thinking, not for storing. So dump all the extra stuff and clear some space inside you for new things to grow!

I resumed drinking water and taking walks.

The stainless steel bottle that sits on my desk has been mostly empty for several months. It mocks me, sitting silently, standing empty like that. This month I made it a habit to fill it with cold water every morning. This might be the only water I drink all day, but whether I fill it once or twice for the day I make sure I drink at least one bottle a day. The bottle holds 24 ounces of water and I read somewhere that staying hydrated helps brain function. I figured that I would need all the brain cells I could get. Besides, why did I buy the damned thing if I wasn’t going to drink water from it?

Add to that the occasional incidents of walking to destress and avoid cramping and what do you know? Success! Here I am coasting into the last few thousand words of my 50K and feeling like a boss.

The point is that I think I’m a stronger writer now than I was when I began. 

I’m more organized and in control, which is saying a lot. And I am ready to start thinking about the next step in the process: the rewrites.


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