In years past I’ve participated in National Novel Writing Month, not for the sake of starting and completing a 50,000 word novel, but just for the sake of getting myself to write something. Recently, however — and especially since beginning my Master’s degree! — I’ve been too sensitive to the time crunch to even let myself think about undertaking such a task.
This doesn’t stop me from writing, as you might have noticed. In fact, it helps because I know my writing time now is precious. The less I have, the more I use it.
Still, as November draws nearer I’ve found myself longing to forget my other responsibilities and just write. It doesn’t matter that I’m already 24,000 words into my current work; I don’t need to participate officially in order to get something out of NaNoWriMo. I’ve realized that what I really want (mentally need?) is a reasonable deadline and a series of small goals leading up to it — the basic NaNo formula. Except that my NaNoWriMo will extend from right now until the last day of the year, and the word-count goal will change depending on how many more words I think the novel needs.
So, there are 13 weeks left in the year, plus a handful of days that I’m not really going to count on. At 24k, I feel like I’m about halfway through the novel, so my word count for now will be, as in NaNo, about 50k. Maintaining a weekly goal, that’s 2,000 words a week, or an average of about 285 words a day.
That doesn’t seem so bad.
The danger here is in those days where, for one reason or another, I don’t write. Suddenly the 285 words I was supposed to write on Monday become 570 to get out on Tuesday. If I miss more than a couple days at a time, which happens often, I may just feel like putting it off even more. Every writer knows this feeling of procrastination. However, if I simply say that I have to write 2,000 words a week, I won’t stop myself after a session of 285 words; I might go on to 300, or 500. I may write 1,000 in a single day. At least, this is the theory.
So then, fellow writers… what’s your goal?
Let the countdown (and the word-count) begin!