how I wrote 30,000 words while working full time

2021, goals, writing

Hello!

When I was in it, it didn’t feel like January was that busy but looking back? I started a new full time job, I did really well with my January Goals, I read 4 books and I even made a more consistent effort at going for walks! As well as finishing a 30,000 word creative writing challenge!

I did my first NaNoWriMo challenge in 2011, where I attempted to write 50,000 words in a month (I managed 15k but I was 15 so I think it was still a good attempt!) and I fell off the creative writing wagon when I didn’t have the same evening downtime when I moved to uni and I’ve been trying to make it more of a habit since NaNoWriMo 2017.

For the last two years or so I’ve been doing writing challenge every few months to keep me writing and give myself a goal, because I find it way easier to ‘write X number of words a day’ than to just task myself with writing.

So this year I planned a 30k writing challenge for January, 35k for April, 40k for July, 45k for September and the traditional 50k for NaNoWriMo in November. I knew I was going to need practice to write daily (or the equivalent of daily) in that quantity whilst navigating my first proper career job and for the first challenge for the year, I smashed it!

Here are some of the things that I really think helped me hit my goal for the month.

Having a spreadsheet with my daily word goal made it really clear what targets I needed to hit when and having this visible when I was writing meant I didn’t spend half my time clicking between tabs checking to see how much more I needed to write (might be a me thing, but I’m always looking to be able to tick things off lists!).

Although it probably didn’t help my sleep schedule, I found going up to bed a little early and writing up there whilst my boyfriend played video games downstairs much easier to concentrate. If we had more rooms in our house I would have worked at a desk or something but currently my options are living room or bedroom! My word target was only 968 words per day (compared to NaNoWriMo’s 1667), so if I was feeling inspired I could write it in about an hour and then I’d snuggle into bed with my book and then watch the Repair Shop with my boy until we fall asleep. Lovely!

I’m not someone who can usually work with music – even when I was studying for school exams, I couldn’t study to music with lyrics because I’d get distracted by the words and inevitably end up singing along and not taking in any of the biology revision I was doing. I’ve gotten worse at multitasking since then and I get very easily distracted now, but I’ve found some brilliant playlists over the course of this month – magical instrumentals, lofi hip hop music – beats on relax/study to and ambient relaxation are great instrumental playlists and my current personal favourite is main character because they’re songs that everyone can pretend they’re in that bit in a movie where it’s a montage of the main character being sad or something. Also most of the songs are used in lots of tiktoks so it’s a lot of ‘oh it’s that song’.

It’s not been easy – there’s been a lot of late night writing sessions and yesterday when I had less than 1000 words to go I really struggled with motivation but I did it and it feels amazing.

I decided yesterday I want to start work on a new original novel for NaNoWriMo this year and I feel super motivated now!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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NaNoWriMo 2018!

2018, lifestyle, writing

Hello!

I feel like I’ve spent the last three weeks explaining NaNoWriMo in every blog post and YouTube video but it means I’m good at summarising it quickly so here’s that – National Novel Writing Month is an online community website challenge thing where lots of writers try to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Often they write novels, but some people write screenplays and poems and all sorts, it’s just a celebration of writing!

I first tried NaNoWriMo in 2011 but only managed about 15k but I do still really like the story idea and then in 2012 I was much more prepared – this was the novel that I finished and would one day like to get published but to be honest, I haven’t properly had time for NaNo since. Just because of exams and school and uni or whatever – I did give it a go last year just to try and get back into writing because I missed it but I was also drowning under millions of assignments and it was an awful time.

So here we are in 2018 trying again! I didn’t think of a novel idea and I’m not in the right mindset to work on my 2012 novel again (but I will definitely rewrite it at some point) so this year is just for writing whatever I want and getting back into the habit of writing every day.

I love writing – it’s part of the reason I went to study journalism because I couldn’t find any other courses that combined copywriting, video and photography in the same way. And since I started uni I fell out of the habit of creative writing so now that I’m home and I don’t have assignments or uni to worry about I want to get back into the habit of it because I miss having that creative outlet!

On Day 1, I only managed to write about 600 words while we were watching TV but then when I took my computer up to bed I wrote the last 1100 words to hit the target of 1667 words a day and I now know that if I don’t want to be writing till 11 o’clock at night I need to get the bulk of the word count done before I sit down to watch TV in the evening!

But also sometimes that’s just how it’s got to be – I think my goal is to be writing down notes and doing what I can on the go, whether it’s on the bus, while I’m volunteering, jotting down things on paper or whatever, so that it makes writing in the evening a little easier.

For some people, NaNoWriMo is the sole focus – I saw someone in a Facebook group talking about how they were aiming for 10k on the first day, but I think for most people it’s just squeezing it in around the everyday. Whether it’s being a student, being a parent, working full time, NaNoWriMo is an amazing community that just motivates and supports other writers and it’s so much fun!

Good luck if you’re participating! If you had no idea what it was, I hope you’ve learnt a little bit about NaNo!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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