NaNoWriMo Tips: What to do About Holidays

Welcome to the tenth (!) post of my NaNoWriMo tips series. For other tips in this series, as well as a schedule for future posts, take a look at the links below. Today’s tip and my discussion of it can be found immediately below the schedule.

Happy Thursday. If you’re anywhere outside of the United States or its associated territories, today is just Thursday for you. Well, unless you live in Costa Rica, where it’s Teacher’s Day. Or in Cambodia, where today is the first day of the Water Festival Ceremony. Or in Lebanon, where it’s Independence Day. Look, this analogy is falling apart and I don’t know how to save it, so we’re just going to move on.

If you’re in the United States, today is Thanksgiving Day. There’s an outside chance you’re reading this at some point early in the morning when you’ve set aside time for NaNoWriMo related activities. There’s a chance you’re doing the same thing, just in the evening. That said, the most likely reason you’re here is because it’s sometime in the afternoon where you are. Thanksgiving lunch/dinner1It has always bothered me that my family refers to it as Thanksgiving dinner even though ours routinely starts between 1 and 2 pm. Dinner for who? The British? is over and though you love football and your family, you have no desire to discuss politics with your racist uncle while the Detroit Lions or Dallas Cowboys are on TV in the background2Just me?.

In the event you did schedule yourself some time today and/or tomorrow to write on your NaNoWriMo project, amazing. You’re immediately doing better than I was in terms of day-to-day consistency in any of my NaNoWriMo project years. If you didn’t schedule yourself time — or if you’re like me and initially thought Thanksgiving was on the 29th, only for your writing calendar to later be messed up — I have some good and bad news for you.

The bad news is that unless you’re well ahead in your story, there’s a chance that some (if not all) of your weekend is shot. I know a lot of people travel during Thanksgiving weekend. While for some folks this means close trips just on Thanksgiving day, for others your voyage might have started on Wednesday, with the end coming as late as Saturday or Sunday. And though you could be writing as your making a long drive or flight back from wherever you spent your Thanksgiving3Shout out to Valparaiso, Indiana and Canyon Lake, Arizona, not just for being two of the unlikeliest places I’ve spent a Thanskgiving, but also because the former is fun to say and because the latter is beautiful., you’ll only have this luxury if you’re not the one operating the mode of transportation needed to get you home.

The good news though is that in spite of everything I just talked about in the paragraph above, the calendar is doing you some favors this year. November 22 is the earliest that Thanksgiving can fall in the year, so you have eight whole days to get your story finished after today. Even if you miss out on 1,666 words today, you have a full weekend at your disposal, as well as nearly an entire other week to keep writing.

While you might have been able to sneak away to read this post, it might not be as manageable to duck out and write 500-1000 words on the fly. That’s completely understandable. But I bet you’re reading this on your phone or a tablet4As the only people who bring laptops to Thanksgiving are people who use them to play Civilization because for the last time, Uncle Jethro, I don’t want to talk about immigration with you.. It wouldn’t be too conspicuous if you just spent some time listening to the holiday conversation and seeing if there was a sentence or two — maybe even a scene — that you could lift from real life and work into your book in some way. Just make a note of it in your phone. Then, once you do have some time to get writing done, you’ll have to spend a little less time thinking about what to write next.

I’ll keep this post short as it is a holiday. Take some time and relax. You’ll need it for the final stretch. Now, if you’ll excuse me, there’s a piece of pecan pie calling my name.

Like my NaNoWriMo tips series? Have questions for me about the topics posted daily? Do you just want to talk about your story and have nowhere else to do so? Leave a comment and join the discussion.

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