Lessons from Nanowrimo and Some Physics

You know what is awesome? Two things.

(1) Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it.

Seriously, Sir Isaac Newton was a genius, and you don’t even have to appreciate that wisdom from a scientific perspective. This is damn good advice.

I’m in the middle of my 2nd year doing the National Novel Writing Month challenge. What I’ve learned by doing this twice is that it usually takes me about half the month and 25,000 words later to get in the groove of writing at this pace. I do about 1700-2000 words a day, and if you’re not used to producing that much, it can be painful. Tiring. I’ve spent many days where I planted my butt in front of the computer screen to write after my kids go to bed or during nap time only to find myself screwing around on Pinterest, Facebook, checking the news, or anything other than writing. But I force myself to sit until it’s done, and so two hours later I wrap things up and do it again the next day. About half way through the month I find myself getting the work done much quicker. I start to feel like an athlete that is well stretched and well practiced and ready to give it my best shot.

That’s where Newton comes in. He totally had it right. Once you get in the habit of doing something and you keep doing it, it’s a lot easier to continue. The trick is getting that initial push that will get you through the tough beginning–that’s what requires the most energy and effort.

Awesome thing #2:

Chunking. About two weeks into the challenge I decided that when it became difficult to sit and write 1700 words in one setting when my mind was wandering all over the place, the least I could do is pop out 500 words in a setting, and then I’d come back later to do another 500 and so on. It totally works.

500 words is an easier commitment. I should say it’s not “easy,” but rather doable. I do my 500, go screw around on Pinterest, and then do another 500 and repeat this pattern until my work is done. Try it. It seriously works.

My goal this year is to keep up my 1700 words a day. I have decided that if I’m not writing and instead in the revision mode, I will then revise 1700/day. I have to keep the momentum going. I have to keep the object in motion.

This is how shit gets done.

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