Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Getting S*** Done, NaNoWriMo-Style.

Right about this time there are a metric ton's worth of tips about NaNoWriMo success floating about in the interwebs.

A lot of those tips share similar themes, such as banking wordcount, telling all your friends and family you'll be participating so they lower their expectations, etc.

There's certainly nothing wrong with those tips, if they work for you. But, most of the tips out and about don't really apply to me nor my writerly sensibilities.

This year will be my 5th NaNo, and I've won every year with the exception of the first, when I got to 38k and floundered. I may lose this year--who knows? November is actually the best month this could happen for me, school-wise, and there are a few reasons why.

But enough preamble. Let's kick this in the pants:

1. Get Shit Done. This one is especially true if you're in school, like me. I have a few things due in November, and I've worked my ass off getting them done before the 1st. Now, not only do I have a sense of relief that I'll have more time to write, but I'm just glad to have one less thing on my plate in general.

2. Outward Reflects Inward. Maybe not for you, but certainly does for me. I absolutely cannot abide being unclean, undressed, the house messy--nothing. I've never understood the whole "I'm a writer and I don't take showers on deadline" kind of thing--can you really not take 5 minutes to clean yourself in the morning? I'm always hoping that's a bit of hyperbole. But it's a psychological fact that when you feel good about yourself, your mind works better...and hopefully that means creativity will flow freely.

3. Eat Well, Be Well. Anyone who knows me knows that nutrition and exercise are two of my soapboxes, so I'll attempt not to stand on them for too long, but... Sitting on your ass in front of a computer is the last time you should be hand-over-fisting leftover Halloween candy into your hole. I hate to break it to you, but typing doesn't really burn calories. I mean hell, running 1 mile only burns about 100 calories, so think about that... Healthy snacks are easy. And you won't feel like the Queen of Bloat from all the sodium and water retention from junk food. Which brings me to my next point...

4. Drink Some Water. Period. Actually, between 2-3 liters a day. You can count your herbal tea, but not your coffee, okay?

5. Don't Psych Yourself Out. The truth is, with practice, you can write 1,667 words in about 90 minutes. Sometimes far, far less. So don't think that NaNo writing time has to swamp all day, every day. Set aside specific time to (1. Get Shit Done), and give yourself a few hours whenever they best suit you. There's 24 hours in a day, man. Resist Twitter and Facebook. If you need to procrastinate, go to the NaNoWriMo site. Chances are, you'll feel inspired to get back to it.

6. Let Go. This one is easier said than done. But my most memorable and most fun NaNo was 2 years ago, when I let the story go crazy. My main character ended up shifting into a dragon-panther (it was sci-fi, okay?) and it was wild. I loved it. But you have to get yourself there. Stick a bigass Post-It note to your monitor that says anything that reminds of that. "It's just a draft" or "Write or Die" or whatever.

7. When Writer's Block Strikes... go for a walk. Take a shower. Do some push-ups. Wash the dishes. Then come back to it, and whether or not you've broken through, write something. You can always change it later, remember?

8. Just Do It. You signed up for it. It's fun. Just do it.

Oh, and...

9. Have Fun! 

Monday, October 29, 2012

You Say Halloween, I Say Pre-Christmas

Lots of stuff has happened, bloggy friends, like I ran my first half-marathon and I'm 2/3 done with this semester and I started my first IV and all sorts of other ooey-gooey things that I'm too busy and/or tired to take the time to type.

Right now I'm frantically trying to finish a bunch of stuff ahead of time so I'll feel like I can indulge in NaNoWriMo without also indulging in a brain attack (<---that's what they're calling strokes these days).

We all have our coping mechanisms. Right now, mine is listening to Christmas music.

Hey, if it's good enough for multi-bestseller Laurell K. Hamilton when she's having a bad writing day, it's good enough for me.

Also, I love Christmas music.

Also, it's frakking 50 degrees in October, which is basically December weather, so let's pretend!

This is an intervention message given to me via Facebook:

I'm sorry, I can't hear you over the sound of my holiday Pandora station.

Monday, October 8, 2012

NaNoWriMo Roll Call!

It's almost that time again, folks!

Who's doing it?
Who's on the fence about doing it?
Who already knows everything about what they're going to write?
Who's considering opening a blank doc on November 1 and figuring it out as they go? (this girl)

My username is: summerbp

Friend me!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Doing All The Things (and a little something on IT Band pain)

My first half-marathon is in 3 weeks. I've been steadily training all summer, and especially hard these past 9 weeks. I've had some major ups and downs, but the biggest hurdle came about 5 weeks ago, when in the middle of a 7-mile long run, I suddenly got terrible lateral knee pain.

Turns out I'm one of many runners suffering from issues with my iliotibial band, a thick bundle of connective tissue that runs the lateral side of your legs, from hip to knee. A lot of things can contribute to IT Band pain, especially weak hip/glute muscles, weak quadricep/hamstring ratio strength (running gives you massive hams), and weak core strength. So, you know, pretty much everything I have.

It's been a problem, for sure. Mostly, I've run through the pain when I can, including a very weird shuffle-run during the last 5 miles of my 10-miler last week. As soon as I stop running, the pain stops. Pretty simple. Unfortunately, there's no way in hell I'm stopping running just 3 weeks from my goal.

So, I've been stretching and doing leg-strengthening exercises. I ran 6 miles yesterday without pain for the first time in weeks. And this morning, I woke up kinda stiff and sore and decided to throw in one of my yoga dvds. This particular dvd has a different focus for each morning of the week--including one called "hip opening."

I did it. And holy cow, do I recommend any yoga series on hip flexors. It was basically many variations of cobbler's pose, wide angle pose, staff pose, half fish lord pose, and some crazy forward bends over stretched and angled legs. I have super tight legs anyway, so this would have helped even without the ITB stuff.

I'd love to say I'm going to start doing this yoga workout every day or so until the race, but let's be honest. Doing all the things? Not happening. I'm already running three times a week, sometimes over 2 hours for one run. I cross-train twice a week. I do strength training on cross-training days.

Oh, and of course there's the whole nursing school thing, which... let's just....*eye twitch*

And have I ever mentioned what a sleepy person I am? I'm not one who can stay up until midnight every night. Hells no. Last night I went to bed at 8:45pm. Yep. Granted, I was recovering from a sleep-deprived weekend and Monday, but still...

After the half, I'm planning to cut my runs down to 5-6 miles three times a week. So maybe then I'll have time for the yoga and strength training I want to do, instead of what I need to do.

Right now, everything is what I need to do.

I'm flirting with the idea of trying NaNoWriMo again this year, just because I haven't missed it yet, but I know I'm not going to be able to do it. I get the whole week of Thanksgiving off, and I only have a test on the 7th of November, but I dunno. Most of my big stuff is out of the way before November. Should I?

Or am I still trying to do all the things?