A language more universal than English, Spanish or Mandarin Chinese, math is a writer’s friend if treated with the proper respect. If you treat the application of math in your life like a disgruntled bartender at an open bar wedding reception (“Thanks for the drink, Senior Jerkwad, keep the change.”), you’ll be up to your neck in bad news faster than you can say “Damn, this drink is weak.”
If you don’t pay attention to the ‘maths’ of your checkbook, you end up living in a box under a bridge. OK, it might be a nice box, but a box nonetheless. Or you end up like the Beanie Baby guy, owing more money in taxes than most of us will ever earn in multiple lifetimes on multiple planes of existence. Sucks to suck, as my kids are wont to say.
Now take NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, and the goal of writing fifty thousand hopefully related words between 12:01 AM November 1st and Midnight, November 30th. Apply math liberally. Get that math all up in those nasty hidden places and you’ll find that, after being slathered in computation, the NaNoWriMo is not as difficult to accomplish as it seems.
For the record, you should know that NaNoWriMo is not about a polished, send-it-to-an-agent-and-make-me-famous manuscript. No, no no no. It’s about proving you can pound out a first draft in a month. Because All First Drafts Are Crap, you know you are going to rewrite most of this. From the first draft you’ll make in this demented word challenge, THEN you go polish that puppy into a highly glossed, extremely pointy unicorn horn of literary global domination.
OK, follow along, there’s logic in here somewhere… You have 50,000 words to pound out and you have 30 days to do it. Scary, right? Yeah, that’s a lot for someone with a full time job and kids and crap outside the realm of sitting for hours on end agitating your early-onset arthritis.
You start on Friday November First, and you’re all excited about getting this thing done and its the weekend so lets pound out some words. You start by getting, say, 2000 words each on Friday, Saturday night and sometime Sunday because you’re totally dedicated to completing this and all the good parties were last week anyway (not that you got invited to any, but that’s another post).
Remaining Goal: 44,000 words
Time Spent: about 6 hours.
Right! Good start but not exactly making huge dents, I get it. But this is only the first weekend. So we do the work thing and we either decide we’ll get up early in the morning or stay up late at night and make some progress. Some of you sick little monkeys will do both, like I do.
I need to be at work by 7:30 AM. I’ve timed myself and I know I don’t need to be awake before 6:45 – I can get myself ready and out the door in 30 minutes and still get to work on time. Yay for living close to work! So, I can sleep until 6:45 every day.
I get up at 5AM.
Meaning, I should, to get my 8 hours, be in the Land of Nod by 9 PM. I’m lucky if its 11PM.
I DO THIS TO MAKE WRITING TIME.
So, having decided to make a nightly hour or so to write new stuff (not edit, proofread, email, FaceySpace or Bliggety-Blog), with an extra hour on the weekends (because you’re dedicated to seeing this through to its grisly conclusion) you can apply the math, like so:
44,000-14,000 (from 2 hours a day on your 7 remaining weekend days)= 30,000 words divided by the remaining 20 weekdays = 1500 words in a 24 hour period.
Do you grasp that? Writing 2000 words a day on the nine weekend days in November and only 1500 words a day on each of the twenty-one weekdays, you get (2000*9)+(1500*21) or +=49,500 which is close enough for this example.
And now, armed with the Sword of Math, the Shield of Creativity and the Armor of Hot Dogs, go forth into November and multiply your words.
FYI – This post has about 700 words, and this ain’t even my whole writing day.
Be safe and be well.