NaNoWriMo Prep: Sleep Schedule

NaNoWriMo is right around the corner. That means not only do I need my outline ready. I need my body ready. That’s right. Part of my prep is getting myself physically ready for the added strain that NaNoWriMo will put on my body. That’s not even including getting myself mentally ready to attack my personal goal of 5k words a day.

5K words a day!

Some of you will think I’m crazy. Well considering that two years I gave myself a 6k goal a day and mostly made it, 5k is doable. Heck, when I seriously write other times of the year my goal is always 5k. And no it isn’t crazy for me. I type fast. The thoughts and words quickly come to my head. I shut my eyes and let the story flow out of me. So provided that I have my outline and I know where the story is supposed to go and what beats I need to hit, sitting down and writing 5k is totally workable.

The problem for me is sleep. I love sleep. I love sleep more than I should. I have always specifically chosen the late shift because it allows me to sleep in. Some of you may just say, well go to bed early. Not easy for me when night time is when I’m most awake. Yet, I write best when I first wake up before my mind really starts going and poses too many distractions for me.

What all this amounts to is in order for me to hit my 5k goal every day, I need to wake up early in the morning. Much earlier than I like and start writing. If you have awoke earlier than your usual schedule you know how that can make you tired and groggy. When you compound that over 5 days a week for a month, then it starts to weigh on you.

Which is why I’ve started to alter my sleep patterns. I need to get my body used to getting up earlier, going to sleep a bit earlier, and running on less sleep in general. Last week I set my alarm to what I consider my early wake up. A half hour before I usually get up. A time which is still familiar to me as I use it whenever I know there are things I need to do. Starting tomorrow, I am cutting out another half hour. This time goes to an early time that I use when I plan to give myself an hour and a half of writing time and still have some time for leisure before I head off to work. However, do to my review schedule, next week I will be cutting it back a half hour further.

By getting my body accustomed to getting up earlier now, when Nov 1st comes, I’m not struck with the sudden urge to just sleep a little bit longer. I will already be used to getting up earlier. This is what will keep me going during those rough first days.

All of this is because the hardest part of completing NaNoWriMo is making time to do the work. I could easily sleep in to when I usually would and try to squeeze in words here or there, but nothing would get done. I’d never make my goal or even the standard NaNoWriMo goal because there will always be something else to do. Succeeding means making this goal a priority. And when you make something a priority you need to dedicate time to it. Whether that time is during a lunch break, or after you come home for work, or like me before you head out for the day, you need to make time. If you don’t NaNoWriMo can be an extremely stressful time of the year rather than fun.

Everyone’s schedule is different. Everyone’s goal is different. You have to figure it out for yourself, but going in to this with a plan will help during the weaker moments.

Do you have a plan? Do you change your sleep schedule for NaNoWriMo?

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