While many writers have spent November working on NaNoWriMo, I’ve been filling the month with my own version of super-productivity: NaMeWriMo.
Writing a memoir sometimes involves revisiting times that you’d rather leave in the past. Previously, I would sit down with the notebooks that I wrote when I was pregnant, decide to start writing and hope for the best. I’d end up feeling a bit miserable, not very confident about the book and ultimately, procrastinating. November had to be the month when things changed and NaNoWriMo was the perfect excuse.
Back in summer, I read this brilliant guest post by Jenn Ashworth and Sarah Hymas, writers and mentors of the Writing Smithy, on Andrew Oldham‘s blog. Whether you’re writing a memoir or fiction, I urge you to take five minutes to read it now, print it out and stick it on the wall. Jenn and Sarah are both experts at combining writing with the chaos of real life and this post was a huge inspiration.
Being able to sit down and write requires not just time but headspace. I’ve dedicated whole weekends to writing before now and not been able to set myself in the frame of mind needed to get the right words out. I’d love to be able to write full time, but like many people, I have a job and a child and those things have to come first. I am lucky enough to use words in my day job, but this means that by the time I sit down to write in the evening, my internal thesaurus is exhausted, there’s a big stack of washing up and I’d much rather just waste time on the internet or watch rubbish telly.
All month, I’ve spent two hours every evening and longer at weekends focussing on the book. I’ve also taken Jenn and Sarah’s advice and learnt to say no. I’m having a holiday from Facebook and I’m allowing myself one night out all month. I am fuelled now by the glorious end goal, which is see in print my story of the shock and joy of having a baby – a story that I hope lots of people will be able to identify with; male or female, single or attached.
Apart from my end goal, the other thing that has kept me going this month is copious amounts of proper coffee. I was down to my last few granules of instant when Douwe Egberts asked me if they could send me their new ground range. How could I refuse? There are six different varieties, all absolutely delicious and all with helpful strength levels on the packet. I’ve been drinking Flavourful Decaf in the evenings, House Blend after I’ve put Tom to bed (and would quite like to go myself) and the kicks-like-a-mule Fired Up in the mornings. It certainly beats pouring instant straight from the jar into the mug and hoping for the best.
Here’s to NaMeWriMo and finally feeling like I’m getting somewhere. Have any other writers out there got tips to share?
You can find our more about the new range of coffee from Douwe Egeberts on their Facebook page. To see the full range and find out about their sustainability work, visit their website. I didn’t get paid for writing about the coffee, but it was free – and it is delicious.