Sunday, November 6, 2011

November – Finish a Book Month

I’ve been working on my book “Tracing the Invisible Women” for a long time now and know I need a way to rejuvenate my commitment. I have participated in NANOWRIMO (for those who don’t know, this is a program for writing a novel in a month) a couple of times for short periods, but it didn’t work for me. I am primarily a narrative nonfiction writer. Short stories are a possibility I have explored in past years, but this year in the middle of a nonfiction book, I just didn’t think NANO was going to work for me.

The Challenge for Nonfiction Writers

Lo and behold one morning I saw a post (somewhere – I am definitely on social media overload) by Nina Amir about her blog, “Challenge to Write and Publish Nonfiction All Year Long.” Immediately drawn to the section on the her website entitled “Write Nonfiction in November,” where Nina explains that WNN is a blog and a challenge not a contest, I thought, this is what I need.

Information to Get Me There

Nina has suggestions on her blog (http://awesm/5XYoE) about planning the month ahead of time, which I am doing now. Preparation is extremely important. I’m busy tying up loose ends and other projects so I can concentrate on just finishing the book. It is amazing how differently I am looking at the month of November, not normally a month that I like. To me, November is a harbinger of winter, the season I hate. Now I’m excited that November is coming.

All Goals Need a Plan

I have torn the November page from my calendar to map out my daily goals. What delights me about this program is that a month is so little time; I won't be able to let up. The 30-day deadline is something I can manage. There have been times in the past, especially when I was publishing a magazine, when a project deadline required an all-nighter. I’m hoping that I’m being realistic with my daily plans so none of those are necessary. All-nighters (for any purpose) are for when you’re young. I see this program as 30 deadlines and I have never missed a deadline in my writing career.

How Not to Let the Pressure Become Stress

My number one method to avoid the burnout of writing intensely under time pressure on a large project such as a book is exercise. For the month of November, I’m treating myself to a membership in the fitness center down the street. An hour on the treadmill will rev up the creative juices and start the day off with a jolt.

To me this is akin to a marathon. When I reach the finish line on Nov. 30, I will be celebrating the completion of my book, “Tracing the Invisible Women.”

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