In light of it being November and NaNoWriMo being under way, I thought I'd talk today about binge writing. I myself have never done NaNoWriMo but I've experienced my own writing binges in different contexts (mostly academic). For instance, I completely rewrote my college thesis two days before the deadline. My psychology master's thesis got done during the week before I moved from upstate back to NYC. In fact, the only thesis I've ever written that was not started and completed in the days before the deadline was the MFA thesis, believe it or not.
My point is, I know what it's like to crank out pages in a short period of time and to write so hard you don't know whether you're crying or your eyes are bleeding or your brain's exploding. Or all of the above. I know the rush and thrill of when all those disparate ideas come together at the last minute and the whole project feels like it's suspended in air, waiting for that last breath, that last keystroke.
But aside from the frantic rush of it all, there is strategy to binge writing and I thought I'd share a few things I've learned from my own binge writing experiences.
1) Don't forget to eat. Whether you take a short break for dinner or keep a snack next to you as you work, remember to refuel with food.
2) Sleep can be optional for a day or two. But if you're planning to pull all-nighters for a month, be prepared for lowered productivity. I know because I've actually done this and it's not a good idea.
3) Bathing is optional. (Unless you plan to go out in public, in which case, do the world a favor and take a quick shower.) 'Nuff said.
4) Take breaks. Sometimes your brain needs to zone out and relax. Beating it with a stick isn't going to get the words on the page any faster.
5) Goals can change and that's OK. You may find as you work on your project--be it NaNoWriMo or something else--that your goals may shift. That's perfectly OK and it's important allow yourself the flexibility to change directions if need be.
Here are some happy writing vibes to all you awesome writers, especially those doing NaNoWriMo. Hope your project goes well!