Just four days to NaNoWriMo. Are you ready?

Last year at this time, I talked about the 3 P’s: Plan, Practice, & Pace. This year, I’m going to talk about the Sprinters approach to finishing NaNoWriMo … or completing any other overwhelming project.

While I am a big fan of the 3 P’s, some people may get twitchy just reading about the concept. I know plenty of people who simply weren’t born with the planning gene. If you are one of those that would rather dive in and sprint to the finish, that’s OK!

The sprinters who win races have great technique, lots of power, and are just plain fast. A writing sprint has those same characteristics.

Since you are likely going to be writing in large chunks of time when the mood strikes, here are some technique tips:

1. Have a comfortable workspace. Make sure you have a comfortable chair and good lighting, and that the mouse and keyboard both work for you.

2. Use good tools. Know which software tool you are going to use; be certain you like it, are comfortable with it, and know how to use it.

3. Take care of your eyes. Staring at the screen for too long can cause your eyes to dry out and go buggy (that’s a technical term), so check out my The Eyes Have It column for tips on how to avoid computer eyes.

Sprinters generate much of their power from their ability to strike the ground well to propel themselves forward. Striking the keys hard isn’t going to make you a better novelist, but taking care of yourself to avoid burn-out will.

1. Eat a lot of Whole Foods: proteins, fruit, veggies, dairy. Your brain burns a lot of glucose doing stuff like this, but it’s not an excuse to eat Snickers for a month. Your body will create glucose from whatever you eat. Just be sure you continue to eat a balanced diet, and listen to your body.

2. Stay Hydrated. It can be easy to forget to drink while typing away furiously, so remind yourself to hydrate. Pro Tip: Keep the beverages away from the computer, however. I’ve lost two laptops to coffee in the past few years.

3. Sleep. Sleep when your body tells you to. Even a 20-minute nap can make a world of difference, so don’t be afraid to catch some Z’s when you need them.

The challenge is to write a 50,000 word novel in a month. If that’s not a sprint, I don’t know what is! Not everyone is a fast and accurate typist, just do the best you can.

It doesn’t matter of you are Marathoner or a Sprinter, the whole goal is to finish. Pick the method that works the best with your lifestyle, and run with it (pun intended).

How do you intend to get to the finish line?

For more on NaNoWriMo, read Jeanne Veillette Bowerman’s review of the NaNoWriMo website and share your NaNo Profile link. Also, read Write On! Track’s reasons why NaNoWriMo is a Good Idea.

1 Comment

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  1. Michelle Dennis Evans 12 years ago

    I’m a sprinter when it comes to NaNo… setting 10,15 or 20 minutes to write like mad.
    Almonds make for a great healthy munchy.


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