The stated goal of NaNoWriMo is to write 50,000 words in one month; essentially, a VERY rough draft of a novel. (See our previous posts on this event!) The volunteer cheerleaders from NaNoWriMo remind us that it only takes 1600 words/day to achieve this goal. The unstated goal is to build that oh-so-important writing habit. Writers love to talk about exercising their writing muscles, which is our way of saying that we’ve built a successful routine (habit), and it’s easier to get into the groove of writing when you can lean on that routine. Not to mention that fact that our writing gets better the more we exercise those writing muscles!
Sounds easy, right?
Hmph. Not so much. I struggle to prioritize my writing, to give myself permission to put the writing first – or at least second or third. Frankly, even fourth would be progress. (This might be why I haven’t published anything in three years.) But, for me, it’s also really hard to sit down and write when I have to re-read what I’ve already written each time to remind myself of where I’m at in the story – and more importantly, where I’m going. You’d think I’d learn!
Outlines have become this pantser’s friend, but even with an outline (mine are still very high-level), it’s hard to pick up the thread of where I left off, and rejoin the flow of thought I (hopefully) had going. In theory, NaNoWriMo is the perfect event to push me to prioritize my writing and build that routine.
Except, it requires me to prioritize my writing. Oops!
This month, I’ve written 4,199 words. That’s more than I’ve written in a while, and I love where my story is going. Those 4,199, added to the roughly 25,000 I had previously written, have allowed me to dive into this story in a meaningful and creative way. It would be lovely to say I’m going to crack that 50,000 target, and certainly the month is not over yet! (NaNoWriMo’s handy goal-tracker tells me that I only need to write 3,800 words/day to finish.) There are ideas bubbling, lots of threads in the story to tie off, and plenty of work to do.
I can do it.