Last NaNoWriMo was brutal. The combination of grading so many essays and trying to meet the rigors of 1667 words a day almost broke me. But I survived. And I learned an important lesson. 1. Writing at restaurants is a good thing (though expensive). 2) The 10 minute rule.
For those who have never graded, it’s a grueling experience, and one that easily saps the will. I used to do long grading sessions of multiple hours, powering through what needed to be done, and then crashing into a stupor. I barely had the presence of mind to sit mindlessly through Netflix binge sessions. But I couldn’t do that if I wanted to make it through NaNo. I had to find a way to get the grading done, but leave enough of my soul for writing.
The idea was simple, switch on and off. Ten minutes of grading followed by 10 minutes of writing. I set a timer on my phone, and go. The only alteration to the rule is that I finish the essay I’m grading and the paragraph I’m writing. Then I switch.
Not only did I survive NaNo, I’ve been able to (somewhat) keep up the habit. With some more work at it, I should be able to make this a permanent change.