NaNoWriMo: Interval Style

Interval Training

So here’s the thing. I’ve attempted NaNoWriMo seriously twice in my life. Both times, I tried writing 2,000 words a day, in an attempt to both emulate Stephen King and get ahead. The first time, I failed around the 25,000 word mark. The second, I surrendered at around 10,000.

Now, for those of you who are staring at me and wondering why I’m speaking in gibberish, NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month, which traditionally involves an army of writers coming together to encourage and rage at each other until they swear and curse and bleed out 50,000 words over the course of 30 days.

So after failing to reach that golden 50k mark twice, I was beginning to think that NaNoWriMo wasn’t for me. Or at least that I wasn’t for NaNoWriMo. And then something funny happened. I got into interval training.

Interval training is a pretty simple concept. Instead of chugging along at a steady pace like you’re running a marathon, you alternate between sprinting and resting. The theory is that by turning the dial up on your intensity levels, you make your body work harder and more efficiently. I love it. I have a shaky attention span at best, unless I’m buried headfirst in a book, so I love the challenge of it and pushing myself to the limit. There’s also something about stepping off the treadmill or hobbling off the bike after 15 minutes feeling wrecked and like an absolute badass.

So one afternoon when my legs had melted and I was wondering what exactly I had just done to myself, the thought hit me. Maybe I wasn’t cut out for doing NaNoWriMo the traditional way for the same reason I find it difficult to keep grinding on gym equipment for over half an hour at the same pace.

So this is what I’m going to do. I’m travelling from November the 13th with family, and I don’t want to subject them to me on NaNoWriMo (don’t say no to this drug, kids). So starting October 12, I’m going to be writing in sprint intervals of 5,000 words every few days and then dropping down 500 words to recuperate in between. It’s going to be horrific, but I’m going to do it. After all, as the indomitable Kristen Lamb recently wrote:

The trick to NaNo is to appreciate its PURPOSE. It’s to propel us out of the comfort zone and show us what we are truly capable of if we put our minds to something and refuse to give up. It’s training for the pace of professional author. Pros have a VERY different operational tempo.

We don’t play to win, we play for keeps.

So, I know there are plenty of people who do NaNoWriMo their own way. What are your thoughts?

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