5 Ways to Manage NaNoWriMo Stress

Well, NaNoWriMo2017 is well underway and I have been extra busy, hence why this is my first post this month. This is my second attempt at the 50,000 word goal in 30 days. My first attempt in 2015 ended with 22,877 words and a feeling of disappointment on December 1st. But this year I vowed to try it again and this time I was determined to surpass my first word count and complete the 50,000 word mark. So far, so good. I have surpassed my 2015 word count (current count: 27,714). But my momentum is shrinking with the holidays approaching and family obligations weighing down on me. There are a few things I have been doing to counteract the mounting stress:

blackandwhiteopenbook

1) I have read books that are in a different genre than what I am writing. Enjoying a good book can spark ideas for your story line.

2) I write in my journal. I have found this to be extremely helpful. By writing about what is going on in my daily life, goals that I have and tasks that I want to accomplish has freed up some of my mental clutter and whole scenes for my characters have come about, increasing my word count.

3) I attended a poetry reading to get away. Once you start to feel stuck in your writing it is good to be able to get away and focus on something else, enjoy other’s creativity.

4) Soak in a hot bubble bath. Sometimes this can be a cure-all for everything stress related. The hot water relaxes your body while the scent of the bubbles relaxes your mind, allowing you to relax and then the words will come to you.

5) Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. A tired mind cannot write all the words and the goal of NaNoWriMo is to write all of the words in 30 days or less. Get rest even if you have to sneak in a couple of 15 minute cat naps during the day. Get your sleep on so your mind can recharge and process the words you have already written.

NaNoWriMo is fun and we all have to remember this is not life or death but a month-long word sprint. I have discovered new writers whose work I love because they participated in NaNoWriMo. I am discovering that this draft doesn’t have to be perfect – that in fact i can guarantee it won’t be perfect because it is a draft. Meant to be reread and corrected. In the event I discover that maybe novel-writing is not for me that doesn’t mean I can’t write. It means I may be more suited to shorter, more concise stories. I still love the written word and using those words to express myself. Remember why you signed up for this challenge and use that to help guide you in your story.My life, My Words, My Way(1)

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3 Ways To Foster Change In Your Life

I am currently in another transitional phase in my life. Hence, why you haven’t heard from me in a while. Children graduating, seasons changing and children preparing to begin their school career. But amidst all of that change (because change happens regardless) you can steer it in a way. There is a way to direct some of the changes with a chance to reduce the amount of ‘pains’ associated with growth.

We all have those moments where we wake up one day and our inner being is screaming that something has to change! It’s during those moments that we have to stop and listen to what else our inner being is telling us. Chances are, our inner self has been speaking to us for a while and we were just too busy being busy to notice.

looking skywardIt was during one of these moments that I had to stop and listen because I was on the verge of screaming at the top of my lungs and snapping on my co-workers at my day job. I didn’t like that feeling at all. I listened to what my inner being was saying and discovered that I absolutely hated going to work; not because the job sucked, but because the politics at the job sucked – bad.

My inner self screamed at me to GET OUT!!!! I haven’t seen the movie but I’ve heard ink stampenough reviews to know that when it’s time to go, it’s time to go. We all have those moments at the day job where we want to walk out of the door and not come back but the responsibility of bills and families (for those of us who have them) weighed down on us. I evaluated my interests and came up with three ways to foster change in my life, became a notary public and quit my day job.

  1. Assess Your Interests – Make a list of the things or areas you are interested in. What do you enjoy doing (outside of watching t.v. or playing video games)? Write down 5-7 areas that you are interested in. Write down why you are interested in each of those areas. Ask yourself whether you would be able to participate in this interest for the next 20 years without being financially rewarded and still enjoy it.
  2. Assess Your Skills – Pull out your most recent resume. When did you last update it? Have you acquired any new skills? Have you improved any of your current skills? Are there any skills you need to acquire or that you are interested in? Research where you can improve your skills.
  3. Decide on a Path to Pursue – Go back over your lists. Cross out the ones that don’t make you feel anything. Focus on the ones that light you up inside.

Which interest makes your heart soar? Gives you goosebumps? Most likely those are the ones you should focus on. By taking steps toward your interest there will be a lighter feeling to your day and a twinge of stomach flutters as you realize that you are in control of your hearts’ desires. Make a decision about what you want in your life and go for it, you deserve it!

Using these ideas I have recently become a notary public because I truly enjoy helping others. What dreams have you chased and caught or are currently chasing? Comment below.

 

Balancing Life and Writing, How?

It’s 11:51 pm and I have been trying to get my ideas to stop dancing around in my mind. I’m also trying to convince my one year old son to stop dancing around on the bed and go back to sleep! My thoughts are bouncing between river dancing and doing the cupid shuffle. Fragments of stories are teasing me and the pages are still blank. So what is a mother to do?

Thankfully my 2 3/4 year old is sound asleep, unaware of her brother’s antics at this late hour. I am curious how you other writers with children handle disruptions and uncooperative-ness? I am sure there is something I am missing. A technique to get my son to stay sleep? Some have suggested cough syrup but that sounds medieval. I have heard tales of creeping into another room in the wee hours of the morning. Feasible, except for the lack of another room to creep into to. I have even heard of the old work whilst the little darlings nap in the afternoon. HAH! I’ve been trying that one and the joke is on me. My children take turns NOT napping.

As I type this my son is in his crib shaking the sides (squeak, squeak, squeak, squeak) as if to protest his confinement at this hour. Surprisingly as I am committing this to print the squeak, squeak has slowed. In my peripheral vision my son is watching me intently, even though I know he is tired beyond belief. I figured the bedtime stories I read to him and his sister before bed were sufficient. Oops! I typed too soon. His cries are going to wake up the whole neighborhood. *Sigh* A mother’s job is not ever done.