One week left in Nanowrimo! (Whaaaaaat??) How are you feeling about that?
If you're panicked about the amount of words you still have to write, if you don't know how you'll make it, if you're exhausted...
Try this recipe for end-of-draft survival. (It has worked so well for me!)
Here's what you do:
1) Take a day off.
Yes, in the midst of crunch time. Yes, this is counter-intuitive. And yes, you will probably want to not listen to me on this one.
But trust me: you need a deep day off, where you do something that utterly recharges you.
(Even if--especially if--you feel like you don't "deserve" one, after some half-hearted writing sessions. Yes, I'm talking to you. You need a day off too. I promise.)
Go look at something that is not a screen. (Find a lake, a forest, a beach, or maybe an art museum, a city walk, a new café...)
Move around. Explore a bit. Go for a ramble.
Make time for friends. Hang out with some people who get you, who nurture you.
Do whatever it is that deeply energizes your soul. Whatever you're craving. Whatever you feel starved of. Whatever it is: do that. Guilt free.
That guilt-free thing is important. You're not allowed to cheat and make yourself feel miserable about a day off, and you're not allowed to beat yourself up about not writing.
Nope. You and your emotions and your body--you need a break from this intense writing. And you need to trust that rest--rich, deep, true rest--really will translate into more words.
So: a full and amazing day off. Sound good? Cool.
At the end of your day off, move on to step 2:
2) I have a little reading assignment for you...
Check out this mega-insightful blog post from Rachel Aaron: she explains the three components of her approach to fast writing.
All three are super-important, but it was the third component that especially grabbed my attention. It's the one that I forget to pay attention to. And she's so right: when I got that straightened out, my writing totals skyrocketed.
Which component is the biggest game-changer for you?
Whichever one it is, you could totally implement it. Like: tomorrow.
Tuck yourself into bed early, and tell your subconscious to dream up big wonderful things for your writing session tomorrow.
3) Day Two: Do all the Good Things.
When you sit back down to draft the next day, incorporate every single good, healthful strategy you know of.
Do anything and everything that makes you feel most energized as a writer.
Pamper yourself too. Make it easy to be at your desk.
Get the quality coffee. Light a candle that makes your office area feel special. Read your favorite rah-rah-rah writing quotes.
Take breaks for health, but mostly work on diving deep into the draft: planning your work, and writing scenes that are crazy-fun, and working at the best time and environment for you.
Refuse to let perfectionism anywhere near your desk today.
Tell envy (especially comparing your totals of anyone else's word counts) to take a hike ... a really long one, with no map and no granola bars.
Just focus on being you--the amazing, ever-growing writer that you are--and attending to the needs of this incredible, lively, messy, and promising first draft that you are writing.
PS: If that blog post by Rachel Aaron struck a chord with you, I highly recommend her book on the subject, 2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love. It expands on the original blog post, by showing more of her process, from early development stages through to editing.
I'm ultra-nosy about how other writers work, so I loved it! I want to swipe a few things from her process and try them out. It's a quick read, and super inspiring! Right now it's just 99 cents, so if you love this kind of thing, grab your copy!