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How to Fit/Cram NaNoWriMo into a Busy Schedule

“Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month.”

Yes, I’m way too busy to actually write an entire book in one month.  I’ve been too busy for the past 61 years and 360 days, as a matter of fact.  As president of a busy professional organization, California Council for the Social Studies, it seems that deadlines, emergencies, and weekly and monthly meeting preparation consume me.  On top of that our Kiwanis magazine came out last month, and we are now distributing copies to all those wonderful folks who bought ads from us, as well as encouraging them to purchase an ad for our next edition, writing new articles, and taking photos.  Deadlines again.  I just got back from one extended cross-country trip with my brother, and have another coming up at the end of this month for the National Council for the Social Studies conference in St. Louis, and I’m the membership chairperson again this year, so more meetings.  And somewhere in the middle Vince and I want to squeeze in some time to go to the coast.

When I signed up for NaNoWriMo in the middle of the night on November 1, after reading my emails for the day, with the stated goal of writing a 50,000 word novel by November 30.  I thought I was crazy to do such a thing.  I really did.  But I have wanted to write a book all my life, and another full, all out,  effort like this isn’t going to come around again until next year.  I’ve been reading about it for two years as a blogger, and thinking, “I could never do that.”  But this year, in the craziness of the middle of the night, I signed up – one day late already.

My Progress


So far I have completed 5 chapters, 7443 words lacking only 892 of my target goal for the day.  AND it’s only 8:37.  I can do this!

Why It’s Getting Done

I am a goal driven woman.  Once I set my mind to it, my whole being moves me toward that goal.  However, I’ve drawn my friends and family into the process.  So time I spend with them, gets channeled at times to talking about the characters in the book and gossiping about them.  For example, should one of the three protagonist ladies die?  They are all widows in their 60s looking for love, and finding out that dating looks much different from it did when they were in their 20s.  Are they all going to find love?  What are they doing with their lives in the mean time.  What funny or not-so-funny experiences made them like they are?

Right now the characters are fluid folks.  They sort of look like people I know, including me, but they are in the process of morphing as I talk to friends and family.  We recall funny stories since we all have been widows, and we share stories that we’ve heard from other people.  Then at night, or in the early morning, I set these ideas to life, and see where the characters take them.  They are all pretty talkative, except Ann, who is shy.  They’re all good-looking, just a little wrinkled around the edges, and they’re pretty competitive about their looks, too, in a stable sort of way.  Fortunately, they all like entirely different types of guys, so I can assure you that they will still be friends at the end.  No major jealousy plot in this old lady-love story.

Sarah Jo


That’s all I can say now.  I don’t want to give away what I don’t know yet about the story, or you will know more than I do about Trixie, Sarah Jo and Sue Ann.  But stay tuned, as I know more, so will you.


22 replies »

  1. I am just starting to get caught up in my reading after participating in NaNoWriMo. I was able to complete about 30,000 words even though I got really sick towards the end of the month.


  2. I can’t believe with all you are doing you still have time to blog! I’m not even a 1/10 as busy as you and I only manage to blog about once or twice a month! Good for you!


    • You have kids and grandkids. I don’t. That keeps a person busy! 🙂 You are doing a lot more than you think! AND you are building memories and character in people’s lives. 🙂


  3. Marsha! Squee!! Just today, I saw you were writing a book for NaNo. I can’t help it; I have to say: YOU GO GIRL! I love your premise for the book – and that it will be humorous. This is so cool. 🙂 I’m participating in NaNo. I have 11 words so far.


    • You will get there, though! It has helped me to have read so many romantic books. My mom collected them. She had 1,300 paperback romantic novels that she had read over and over because she ran out of funds before she ran out of time to read. She could read so fast that she would read 3 books to my one, and I’m not a slow reader. 🙂 You’ll be caught up in no time! 🙂 I got a head start because it’s my first. 🙂 I need an editor and some advice about what to do next, though. Can you help me?


      • My mother is a fast reader, too. They must have learned reading tricks back in the day. 🙂

        I’m using an editor for the first time with my new book in my new series. She should have it back to me soon, and it will be interesting to see her recommendations. She’s been in higher education for 24 years, and she’s just starting her own proofreading/editing business, so she’s reasonably priced and trying to build a client base. If you’re interested in talking with her, let me know, and I’ll drop her address to you via email.

        As for what then? 😉 Publish your work of art!! I started with Smashwords. They have a style guide to walk you through step-by-step what you need to do to format and publish with them. Amazon has a guide for formatting and publishing through them as well. I use both and find them fairly easy to follow. If you’re planning to shop your book around to agents and publishers, I can’t help you there, but there are plenty of trade published authors here at WordPress that could give you some advice.

        Good luck with your book! 🙂





Hi, I'm Marsha Ingrao, a retired educator and wife of a retired realtor. My all-consuming hobby is blogging and it has changed my life. My friends live all over the world. In November 2020, we sold everything and retired to the mile-high desert of Prescott, AZ. We live less than five miles from the Granite Dells, four lakes, and hundreds of trails with our dog, Kalev, and two cats, Moji and Nutter Butter. Vince's sister came with us and lives close by. Every day is a new adventure.

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