Well, as long-time readers will know, I’m big on the Camp NaNoWriMo thing. I participated last April, and managed to completely neglect my set project of finishing an article series with the aim of 10,000 words by the end of the month. Instead I actually managed to get to 50,000 words in 20 days! I was pretty pleased with myself, but he novel remains unfinished and neglected. There’s a whole mess of reasons why it’s only maybe half way complete, which I don’t really want to go into, but either way, I accomplished my goal and then some, though just not on the correct project. Woops!
In all honesty, July rather snuck up on. I wasn’t expecting it so soon. Mentally, I’m still stuck somewhere in the first week of May? I think Easter was last week, wasn’t it? Either way, July is here, in all its summery glory, and I am just completely not prepared. In fact, so under-prepared am I, that I wasn’t even going to participate at all in this Camp NaNoWriMo.
But then, I got to thinking. I realized that I have a whole slew of projects that I need to complete, and that I might as well use this month to get them done. However, July also happens to be quite busy for me.
I’m living in a tourist town in Wales, which means that as soon as all the schools let out, everyone is here. I also happen to be the manager of an ice cream shop, so that means that I don’t really get to take time off, nor does it really leave much room for slacking while I daydream about my projects. In fact, what it does mean is that I have to be here a little later each day so I can do the stock ordering, and in the mornings I have to be here a little earlier in order to deal with the stock being delivered.
On top of the general demands of work, my mom is coming over for a visit. I’m actually quite looking forward to it. However, it means a day where I’m going to get her from the airport, a three hour drive away, spending a weekend adventuring with her, and we’re also spending a day where we’re going to spread Granny’s ashes (speaking of her ashes, that’s also something on my things I’m doing next week: driving the four hours to fetch them, and the four hours back). Plus my general spending time with my mom and other family that might be in the village during that time. Definitely not complaining, but it’s adding to my schedule.
Like I said, come July 21st, the schools are letting up, and so after that, the quietness of the weekdays will be gone, so I can’t even be cheeky and write during my shift like I am now.
So, I decided that I would make a list of everything I needed doing, and try and organize my time off with little word count assignments, so that I’ll hopefully complete my projects all this month, and with minimal stress.
Actually, when I added up all the projects, how many words I expect them to be at the end, it was only something silly like 24,000 words, which is less than 800 words a day. Nothing. Easy peasy. However, I also included things I have to get done—including this blog (were you wondering why I was just waffling on without much direction?).
So, I suppose, how on earth do I help you, a potential fellow writer to do the same?
- Make a Calendar
There are much easier ways of doing this, one being going online and maybe downloading a calendar you can print out. You could make one in Word or Excel, you could buy a planner, you could use Google Calendar, the calendar in your phone—whatever! I drew one because I don’t have access to a printer, I was bored and had some downtime, and because I want to be able to see the whole month on one page.
- Make a list of your Things to do for the month.
I made a list with different sections. I made one for
- Scheduled Events
- I’m really good at forgetting that I have obligations, and so I have to make sure those are the first thing on my list. So for this I put down work, my mom coming into town, hanging out with certain people, the cinema opening I’m meant to go to (that one is a fib), and so on.
- Must Do’s
- These are my essential projects, things that have a deadline. At the beginning of this year, I had a goal for my novel to be completely edited, revised, and polished to start being submitted into the world for publication by July 1. That didn’t happen (but only because I had to completely re-write the ending and that forced me to tweak a whole bunch of other things). But that was my own personal deadline I set on myself. Now I actually do have deadlines on a few projects, which need to be done this month. Those are on my Must Do list.
- Would Like to Do
- These were the things that I wanted to aim to do if I had enough time, but if I didn’t get to it, there’s no immediate deadline for. I am going to university come October, and it would be a good thing if I got ahead on a few of my future deadlines, even though they’re two to seven months out. I know I’ll be busy, and knowing me (as regular readers will as well), I’ll probably get behind and stop regularity, and thus reliability. So, since I’m using this month to kick my rumpus into gear, I’ll use this month to get ahead on a few of these projects.
- Color Code Your Lists
- I’m a pretty visual person when it comes to organizing. So, my calendar is in pencil, my Scheduled events are in black ink, my Must Do’s are in Red, and my Would Like to Do’s are in blue. I’d actually like to vary this a bit, but I’m lacking pens (who on earth would have thought that would happen?!?)
- Apply Your Lists to Your Calendar
- I know, sounds silly, sounds basic. But, just do one list at a time, leaving room for other things to be added as the month goes on. I know, sounds nit-picky, but there have been so many times I just scribble on my calendar and then suddenly something important happens that I HAVE to remember, and I have nowhere to write it, so I go into other boxes and before I know it my Calendar is a mess and I don’t want to look at it because it stresses me out. Trust me, you want to be neat with this. Go one list at a time, one day at a time.
- Also, be sure to add the wordcount for that day to your list. So for me, for example, I have to write an episode of one of my series each Wednesday, and so I put 1,000 words for the goal for that day. I have to have a piece of Flash Fiction every Friday, so I have a 1,000 on Fridays.
- I don’t have a daily word count for each day. This is to allow me wiggle room incase one day I’m too stressed out or the day is just to busy, so I have time for a make-up day. For example, so far my Tuesdays are sailing clear. I don’t work Tuesdays, and I don’t have any projects scheduled to work on that day. So if on Sunday I don’t manage to write out my episode for my other series, then I can work on that Tuesday and get caught back up.
Now, since Camp NaNoWriMo wants you to record how many words you’ve written, and I don’t want to be going back and forth between documents and tallying up how many words each one is just so I can enter it in my little box on a website I can only access half the time because my internet is dodgy—I created a little table in Word!
I know, this is kind of ridiculous for something I’m supposed to be doing for fun. But it is fun! And there are benefits (which I’ll write about in a later entry). I will say this though: it keeps me on the ball. Most of all, it reminds me about the importance of organizing my time.
At the age I am, in the place I am, I want to do everything and anything, and it’s easy for that all to get on top of me while trying to maintain being a grownup as well. So for me, making lists, organizing them on calendars, it’s the way to sooth any anxiety, and to help me manage my time well.
I hope this was helpful to you as well, dear reader. Even if I did waffle on for quite a while there.