My last post was at 7:17am – just 5 1/2 hours ago. Since then I’ve written 1238 words, which means I’ve met my AcBoWriMo goal for the first day!
Of course I’m going to keep on writing today to bank up some words for tomorrow and Wednesday when I’ve got all day workshops which will slow me down.
Still I wanted to take a little bit of time to reflect on the things I found helpful today (and the things I still need to work on).
1. I used timers on my phone to set pomodoros. I’m not really disciplined enough to do the Pomodoro technique properly (I can never stop myself from checking my email or looking at twitter when I have to move between Word and a paper I’m reading online), but having a timer still helps. For added nerd points I was using Siri on my new iPhone 4S to set the alarms. Since I only got my phone yesterday the novelty factor alone probably pushed me through a few extra pomodoros.
2. I am working on Chapter 2 on my thesis and as of today I have an almost complete draft. Once I’d done my first major draft I printed off what I had and went through to edit and to work out what sections needed to be fleshed out or moved around. I know proofreading doesn’t really add words to the page, but in the process of reading that draft I noticed some sections that really needed to be expanded which gave me some things to work on for the next couple of hours. I went from not really knowing where to go next to having a great idea of what was missing.
3. It might feel a little bit like cheating, but don’t forget to incorporate work you’ve done before on other (similar) papers. I am working on my thesis, but I’ve put together some of my studies for publications already. I’d already gone through an added most of the things from papers to my thesis draft that I thought would fit, but in the process of writing today I found some sections where I needed to say something that I realised I’d said in an article but not yet put in my thesis. Sometimes it is just a sentence and I ended up fleshing it out a lot more – but don’t feel like you have to reinvent the wheel!
4. One thing I found frustrating this morning was that I had to spend quite a bit of time putting together complex tables and adding references. Neither of these really added to my word count, but they are still important! I think the difference between NaNoWriMo and AcBoWriMo is that unlike many NaNoWriMo writers who don’t expect to have a readable novel at the end of November I have to have something I can give to my thesis supervisor pretty early in December. It might slow down the word count but adding references now will save much more time later in the month (or in December) since adding references when I’ve got the paper in front of me is much easier than having to go back and do forensic work to find out what study I was referring to when I wrote something a month ago. I just know I am going to find the table/word count issue much more annoying when I get to work on some of my very data heavy results sections.
5. On the topic of references, if you’re not using one already I really recommend using a referencing system like Endnote or Mendeley, I promise it will make referencing much easier.
6. Last but not least, the AcBoWriMo people on twitter are amazingly motivational – save #AcBoWriMo as a search and check back on it as you go. People updating their progress today made me want to work even harder.
Now, time to go put on some loud music and do a celebratory dance before getting back into writing!