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Day 24: Space and Environment

We’ve spent a good deal of time contemplating the setting for your story. Giving the same degree of attention to your writing setting will serve you well come November. The art of managing space and environment for the contest really comes down to striking a balance between the details you can control and the circumstances outside your control.

Dedicated Space

If you have a dedicated space where you will be able to write in November, get your space set up now. Make sure that it is clean and organized (unless, of course, chaos and disorder speak to your muse). Put all your prep work in easy reach so that it will support you as needed.

Nomadic Writing

If you don’t have a dedicated space, start planning out the various locales that you will leverage. These may be different parts of the house, or it may entail leveraging train commutes, writing on break at work, slipping away to coffee houses and pubs, etc. Make a list of the specific spaces you will use and think about what you will need on hand to make those situations productive, e.g. headphones, power cords, your research and notes, caffeine, wi-fi, etc. Even if you have one go-to place where you know you’ll do most of your writing, develop a backup plan. Sometimes a change of scenery can power you through writer’s block.

Power of the Playlist

One of my personal favorite environmental strategies is having music to listen to. I go to great lengths to tailor my music selections to the situation. I make a unique playlist (often hundreds of songs long) for each writing project. I select songs that make me think of particular characters or scenes, or even just moods or themes. I’m lucky because I can write to just about any kind of music, lyrical, instrumental, etc. Plan your playlist according to your writing preferences.

I have also started to build situational playlists: drama, rising action, wistful, etc. These can be great to call up to support you with crafting a particular type of scene.

Control Your Environment with Apps

Noisli and StayFocused are two great apps that can help you to manage your environment. Noisli changes the look and feel of your onscreen writing environment and gives you a suite of background noises to play in the background. You can choose between various types of white noise, café sounds, sounds from nature, etc. StayFocused allows you to shut down access to distracting apps for predetermined sets of time.

As I mentioned yesterday, knowing what works for you is one of the biggest weapons you can place in your arsenal. So, pay attention to the settings and circumstances wherein you’re most productive and try to repeat those conditions as often as you can. And let us know, what tips and tricks work best for you?

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Looking for more support? I coach writers on the Nano process and I’m currently offering a free planning session to help you get started. You can sign up here.

Table of contents for other articles in the series.

Be sure to also check out the 5 Epic Clues to NaNoWriMo Success webinar.


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