What #NANOWRIMO Is Teaching Me About Task Management

I’m now 17 days into National Novel Writing Month (#NANOWRIMO) I am ahead of the word count. Wisdom shows that to complete a 50,000 word novel in 30 days you need to write 1,667 words per day. I am averaging about 1,774. Those additional 107 words might not seem like much, but if I keep up with the additional words daily I can essentially “take a day off” from working on my novel and not fall behind.

Why did I decided to write a novel in a month? Frankly it was because I have been spending too much time telling myself, “I can’t get to my own blogging because I am far too busy with my client work.” Well, guess what people? I have been getting up at my usual time and spending the first hour working on my novel. What?! Yes. I apparently do have an hour a day in which I can pen 1,700 words on my novel. Guess what that means? It also means that once December 1 rolls around I have no excuse to not do my own writing because NANO has shown me my “I’m too busy…” was an excuse.

Here, too is what #NANOWRIMO is teaching me about task management

Writers write.

NANOWRIMO business lesons Yep, I have told many of the adults who take my writing classes the same thing, but it is a case of “do what I say, not what I do.” Now I have no excuse. I will be a writer writing on my business blog. Will I write a blog post every day? Probably not, but I can write enough blog posts to get ahead of the game. Get them scheduled and then every post I pen after that will be the icing on top. My blog will be more active. I will have more to share on social media and I’ll be able to truly say “I am a writer writing.”

You have time if you want it.

I recently invested in an Inkwell Planner. It doesn’t kick in until January, but once I ordered it I got an email video from the creator and in the video she offered a free downloadable product. That product was a form on which you listed:

  • What’s important to you
  • Activities you enjoy
  • How you spend your free time
  • A checklist on which you noted how you felt about the time you spent: with your significant other, your family, friends, your personal time, work and creative time

In the video she noted that if you look at how you spend your free time and are honest with yourself if you find you’re spending four hours a day watching television but are not spending enough time in creative pursuits or spending time with friends and family you are shortchanging yourself. Oh, and if you’re spending that many hours a day watching television, but saying “I don’t have enough time to… walk the dog, join a gym, visit friends, crochet my blanket, finish my cross stitch, etc. etc.” You’re lying to yourself. You do have time, you’re just not using it to pursue things you love. Believe me, I do watch television after a long day at work and I may use that as my excuse to not take a walk or not do a blog post, but I do crochet and cross stitch while I watch so I guess I am getting my creative pursuits on, right?

Task management matters.

Because I was determined to “win” NANO this year again I knew I had to make my novel a priority on my daily to do list. Every evening when I leave my office and write my to dos for the next day I write “NANO” right on the top. It is the first thing I do when I sit down at my desk. Why? I am hugely creative and inspired and motivated at 6 am. Later in the day, not so much. I also know it would be easy to shove off the writing of a novel for which no one is paying me (unlike client work it’s not a money-making activity) to the end of the day until the number of words that had to be written a day would be insurmountable. I don’t want to “fail” at NANO.

Lessons learned.

Since I am 17 days in and have written every single day on my novel and have scheduled that time to do just that. I will carry the lessons forward and come December 1 “NANO” will be replaced on my to do list with “blog for yourself.” Oh and as a P.S. I wrote my 1,700 words on my cozy mystery novel this morning AND I wrote this post — all before 8 am. See, there is time if you make time for it!

I’d love to hear how you make certain your own work gets done, especially if you’re a solopreneur who has client work to complete daily.

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