I have a writing routine that works for me… most of the time. Usually, my free writing warm-ups followed by kitchen timer sessions keep me on track. I even have a workable plan in place to keep a light writing schedule while I travel. Sometimes, though, life gets in the way, and all of my routines are derailed.

My biggest obstacle to a productive day is illness. Whether I’m recovering from surgery or simply have the flu, when I’m sick, I can’t write.

Insomnia isn’t my friend either. If I can’t sleep at night, I nod off during the day when I’m trying to work. There’s nothing like a full page of the letter S to make me feel like a ninny.

I’m blessed with an easygoing husband and wonderful friends, but the occasional argument can throw me for a loop. I replay conversations in my head, wondering what went wrong, and most of the time, I wind up feeling guilty. I find it very hard to concentrate on anything until I feel steady in the relationship again.

Lately, though, my problem has been the house. Unexpected repairs and issues have kept me so busy that I haven’t had the time or energy to write. I got so far out of my comfort zone that I couldn’t find the motivation to write a To Do list, much less work on a short story or my novel.

Then I realized that it’s almost November, which is National Novel Writing Month.

I’m going to be busy this year and I hadn’t planned to participate in NaNoWriMo this time around. I need a jump-start, though, and I need it now. If I wait for a quieter time, it will be spring before I pick up the threads of my routine. So I signed up.

That means I have the rest of October to finish plotting and planning my project. Then on November first, I’ll dive into the first draft of my new novel. The goal is to write 50,000 words by November 30th. It’s not an easy challenge, but I’ve done it before and I know I can do it this year. Finally, I’m excited about writing again.

Have you ever tried NaNoWriMo? Are you planning to join the fun?


Filed under Creativity, free writing, NaNoWriMo, Writing

30 responses to “Derailed

  1. That sounds like a great way to jump start your writing engine Shary. I cant imagine writing that much in a month, but I love the idea of it. I look forward to the details from your NaNoWriMo experience!

  2. Now that you bring it up, NaNo would be a great boost for me as well. I’m currently derailed by jetlag, for the most part. It seems impossible to write when the brain calls for sleep and can be a little frustrating.

  3. I’d never heard of NaNoWriMo, but you’ve inspired me to think about doing it! I’m sure you can do it too. Are you going to write a new work or work on an existing novel? I’m now intrigued.

    • I’m going to work on my current project, a relatively new novel… one that I’ve been planning and working on, but haven’t started drafting yet. The original idea was one I did for NaNo a few years ago, but it’s evolved into a different story.

  4. Shary, boy do I relate to the whole thing about getting derailed from my routine (and love the picture). I don’t do well with disruptions. Last week my sister stayed with me (one bedroom apartment) for two days. Just having someone in my space throws me completely off. Then I have to redirect, find my place and get back in writing mode. Which isn’t always easy. It’s very frustrating. And I always feel guilty for being like this.

    • Visitors are great, but they do upset our routines. I know what you mean about the guilt. I always have the best of intentions… I make a plan to get up early and write before my houseguests wake up. Then I hit the snooze. Sigh.

  5. Have with boxes in your head for everything and only open them when you need to. Everyday life can sometimes get in the way of creativity but it often is the source of inspiration. Good luck with NaNoWriMo!

  6. Good luck! I am not participating in this, sounds way too stressful 🙂

  7. I derail myself constantly due to procrastination, laziness, and um…laziness. Did I say that before? I’m going to check out that NaNoWriMo site. One of my other blogging buddies mentioned it to me a few weeks ago, but I procrastinated.

    • NaNoWriMo is lots of fun. It does take a chunk of time, but it’s only one month and it does give me a charge. I think having a deadline helps with my inner procrastinator, so it might give you a boost, too. Let me know if you sign up.

  8. I wish you luck with NaNoWriMo. My writing looks more like the train in the picture – I love that picture by the way. Actually, one of many reasons for Bongo’s blog is to get me writing every day – even if it’s only a little bit. Some days I feel really good getting that much done.

  9. Shary, I’m certain you can do it and I think this is a great way to jumpstart your writing process. In any case, don’t feel too bad about getting derailed. Life’s interruptions are never going to go away and there are times when we just have to embrace them. You can do this! I’m on your cheering squad! 🙂

  10. I’d have to quit my job, or take a month off, and I still don’t think I could do it. Is this just one first draft, without going back and making changes? How many pages is 50,000 words? Can they all be the same sentence just to save time? You know, like, “All work and no play make Jack a dull boy,” as in The Shining. I wonder if he was participating. Good luck. Can’t wait to hear all about it!

  11. @Leah & Monica
    50,000 words is between 165-200 pages depending on the size of your font, and length of words you use. 🙂
    Nobody checks your work, so you could type the same sentence over and over and still “win.” The idea, though, is to crank out a first draft, focusing on moving forward. Editing takes up too much time, so in the race to get to the finish, you have to turn off your inner critic. That’s my favorite part about NaNo. It’s fun!

  12. Wow, Shary, this is really ambitious, but I am so proud of you. I know that you can do and I can’t wait to hear about the experience after November. Good luck!

  13. Oh Dog! A novelist! I wish my human was a novelist. I could do LOTS to disrupt her writing *snickers*

    • Lola can be a distraction, albeit a delightful one. When she was a puppy, she took two naps (not daily… during her entire puppyhood). I have pictures of both of them. Now, she makes sure I go for a walk every day, but once we’ve done that, she is content to sleep nearby while I write. Unless she is taking over the computer to do one of her guest blog posts. 🙂

  14. Hello Shary,

    It was great seeing you and sharing a nice dinner with a friend. You blog is wonderful and I’m looking forward to future posts from you and Lola.


  15. I think it’s a great idea — and I’m still considering joining in…. but I’m currently editing a draft I finished last month. And I don’t know if I want to bail out and work on my other WIP for a month. I will definitely be there in spirit and will be applying that same effort to editing!

    • It would be hard to abandon a piece for an entire month. Glad to know you’ll be with us mentally, though, in your own version of National Novel Writing Month.