November can be a hard month to stay focused and on top of your word count with the holidays and social gatherings. Some of us will be going away for a day or two, some will be traveling miles from our home, others will be hosting holiday parties and dinners– these things can dramatically take a toll on the novel’s progress. We might have little control over where we have to go or do, but we can control how we use that time. It’s going to be tough, but writing a novel in a month and attending social gathers IS doable.
Here are some tips I’ve learned over the years when I had to deviate from my set schedule. These are applicable for any situation where you must part from your writing, not just during the holidays and gatherings in November.
Tips after the jump!
This might not always be an option, but if you know you have to go somewhere or do something, take advantage of it. Try and get further on with your word count, even if it’s just a few hundred words more. If you’re ahead by three hundred words, that’s three hundreds words you don’t have to worry about writing the day of the event.
Figure out how long you’re going to be gone and plan accordingly. If you can, take a weekend and do your best to plow through your word count. Try to do this before the event, not after. You will be much less stressed.
Carry a notebook.
Write down every idea you have while you’re away. If you love writing, you should always carry a notebook no matter the situation. You’re going to have random ideas and solutions to problems pop in your head when you least expect it. Keep a notebook to write it down so you don’t forget it. It’s also good to have a log of all the things you’ve come up with to build off of at a later date.
If you’re traveling, take notes on your environment, depict your surroundings and emotions on paper. These can be valuable in adding some sensory in your novel. Readers don’t want to just read what an environment looks like, they want to know the feel of that place.
See how people interact with one another during different events and times. Even if you’ve known these people all your life, you’d be amazed at what you can still pick up if you really watch. You may even realize you’ve known specific things about how people act, but never really thought about it because it was so common. These are things that can make your novel more life like and can connect with readers.
Watch the person who is overjoyed, the person putting on a face to hide how they really feel, the person who is being forced to do something they don’t want to do. Look at the little details, body movements, posture, how their language changes, etc. Also take note of what feelings you have with these people and how the event or celebration is affect everyone. Take notes on the environment and what’s going on while you have these emotions. Use it in your writing.
You’ve been working hard–take a moment for yourself. Don’t look at having to leave from writing your novel as a bad thing, look at it as an opportunity. As a writer you need to experience things in life. If you don’t experience things, your writting will suffer. The more you absorb, the more you can reflect it in your writing.