Monday, November 16, 2015

Travel, Snacks and NaNoWriMo

We are in the middle of National Novel Writing Month. Just over 15 days have passed, many people should be at 25,000 words or more (I'm not) and there is still a couple of weeks left to get that writing done. However, coming up in the US is the Thanksgiving holiday, which can mean some challenges for certain writers. Me, I had those challenges but at the beginning of the month instead of the end and those are: travel, food and family. So, I'm going to talk about two of them.

This year I had to do something I had never done before during NaNoWriMo and it was at the beginning of the month, when I usually push and try to get to 50k then slow down to meander the rest of the novel however many words I end up writing. I had to travel as I took a vacation to see family and attend my stepsister's wedding. This meant, I was driving (most of it by myself) for over 20 hours each way. Then there were family get togethers and other stuff, which made writing not happen very much.

If you struggle to get 50k with a whole month of writing, I don't recommend a driving vacation unless you change the writing goal to something lower because it is going to affect your word count. I had travel then 6 days of work, some of which were longer than normal hours, so right now I'm almost to 10,000 words when I should have over 25,000. However, if I push on my days off, I can get caught up in just a few days because I have enough NaNoWriMo practice that I can produce a decent result even in that short time. No word count tricks or cheats here, just whatever the first draft of the story needs.

Aside from word count woes, travel can be a challenge when focusing on losing weight. In fact, it can be a challenge for maintaining as well, since there is fast food, sodium, and less control over certain options depending on the situation. Here are a few things that can help.

1. Prepare ahead of time and find healthier snack options
Since I was driving, I didn't want to stop too often on the long days and I was alone anyways, so I found having some food from grocery stores made it easier so I only had to stop for bathroom, gas or some more water/drinks. This was easier at the start of vacation, in particular. Convenient snacks turned out to be sugar snap peas and pre-sliced apples. I also found a bag of pre-sliced apples that included some grapes. Those were great in the morning and easy to consume while driving so I could remain safe and not distracted. I did have a little candy but kept it minimal and on the first days, I only ate out once because we don't have Taco Johns in Oregon so once I made it to Wyoming, I was having Taco Johns (mmm).

2. Decide on goals for travel
If you want to keep with a calorie deficit, you can do that while travel. Just make sure you track and remember that a little increase in weight can be from a number of things so don't panic too much over the numbers. For this trip, I needed a break after being on a deficit for around a year, so it was the perfect time to rest both from gym and lower calories. I ate mostly at maintenance, tracked some but not everything, and didn't stress at all during the wedding stuff because there were more important things besides how many calories I ate those two days. However, if I ever had to do a work travel or something during this time of year, I'd probably keep the deficit and just do what I could to be flexible, which is why I like the flexible dieting (or if it fits your macros) type more than being restrictive or "clean."

3. Relax and have fun
It's vacation, don't get too focused on the little issues like a day of eating over your calorie goal or how much sodium is in fast food tacos. If you don't travel all of the time, then it's okay to have a little time on occasion that is higher calorie or relaxed in fitness. Don't forget to enjoy life and have some fun.

As for NaNoWriMo writing: What to do when you get behind? Keep writing. You can make up for a lot of lost time if you have some days where you can focus on writing most of the day. However, even if you don't have that and you can't make it to 50k, that doesn't mean you should just give up and stop writing. Keep going and work on that novel. Whatever count you get by the end of the month will still be more than you had on October 31st. And you can write more in December or whenever you put the time in to work on the novel. While the challenge of getting 50k done in a month is fun, it isn't the end all be all. What matters is just that you write if you want to finish a novel first draft.

Keep writing.


I write like
Arthur Conan Doyle

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

I write like
Mark Twain

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!