Why my NaNoWriMo Goal is 22,500 Words (And Why I’m Okay with It)

This November, I’m participating in National Novel Writing Month- but I won’t be aiming for 50,000 words in 30 days. Instead, my goal is far lower: 22,500 words.

Okay, so I bet you have a lot of questions right now, like…

Why am I aiming so low? Why did I pick such a weird number? Why would I still want to participate in NaNoWriMo without wanting to win? Why am I telling you guys any of this?

Because it’s good for me. Let me explain:

Why  I'm Only Writing 22,500 Words for NaNoWriMo (And Why it's Totally Okay)

Why am is my goal so low?

To write 50,000 words in 30 days, you have to write a bit less than 1,700 words a day. Right now, I’m writing between 200 and 500 words a day, depending on how much time I have.  When I write more than that, it’s often at the expense of doing other things that are currently more important (things I pay for, like college and hosting for spunfromink.com (still under construction); and things people pay me for, like my jobs) and the joy of having a productive writing day is snatched away by the stress of losing time to work on other projects. I know that if I hold myself to the standard of writing 1,700 words per day, I’m going to get seriously overwhelmed and risk hating my project or myself, and that’s not acceptable.

Beyond that, I’m a writing major, meaning that I am doing a ton of writing in all of my other classes, including short stories, critique letters, flash fictions, style analyses and technical descriptions. Even if it doesn’t all go towards my story, my word count for November will be no laughing matter.

(If you’re planning on going above and beyond for NaNo, Nichole Severn has info and resources for writing 70,000 words during November. Also, check out the #BookInAMonth on twitter)

Why did I pick such a weird number?

Like I said before, I can write anywhere from 200 to 500 words on an average day. On good days, I can crank out around 600 to 700 words- if I’m not getting distracted or thinking too hard. Since NaNo’s focus is just getting a draft down, I figured that 750 words a day would be a really good challenge for me to aim for.

750 * 30 = 22,500

Why am I still participating in NaNoWriMo?

I love the community NaNoWriMo created. I participated twice back in High School, and I loved participating in the forums and knowing that I had a community to go to when I was having a hard time. This year is extra exciting because I get to cheer on the friends I’ve made through this blog! NaNo also directs me to writers in my region, so I can meet up with people in real life as well.

(If you missed it, check out my post on Building Your Writing Village for more tips for creating connections in the writing community!)

Why am I telling you guys any of this?

I know a lot of other writers who have time constraints that are similar to, or even more intense, than mine are; Many of them are very reluctant to sign up for NaNo because they truly don’t have the time to write 50,000 words and still do the things that they need to get done. My goal in sharing my plan for NaNo with you guys is to say that SETTING REASONABLE GOALS FOR YOURSELF IS IMPORTANT AND HEALTHY. While it’s okay for writing to be stressful sometimes, especially if you know you’re not working as hard as you should be towards your goals, knowingly trying to work towards something unattainable is not going to make you a better writer or person.

What do you think?

Do you have a hard time setting reasonable goals in your writing or your life in general? Are you participating in NaNo this year? Share your responses, questions and other thoughts below, or on twitter using @SpunFromInk!

Love,

Nicole

(PS: Don’t forget me to add me to your buddy list for NaNo!)

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Writing Villages: Why You Need One, and How to Build It

(To see where this all started, visit Rae’s post about giving back to the writing community here, and the personal section of my month wrap-up post.)

Some people might say that writing is a lonely hobby that forces turns people into hermits.

I say those people are dumb.

Even if many of us enjoy writing by ourselves, there is so much more to being a writer than just chaining ourselves to a desk and typing away. Not only do we need to interact with the outside world in order to recreate it, but we need inspiration, encouragement and advice too. That’s where your writing village comes in.

It takes a village to raise a novel. Who's in yours-Read More »

Sharing my Secrets: Behind the Scenes Writing Tag

Hello friends!

I’ve been tagged by the fabulous and lovely Annie from Curious Wren to do the Behind the Scene Writing tag! If you haven’t looked at her blog yet or followed her on twitter, then I suggest that you do that right away. Everyone could use another sweetheart in their lives, after all!

I’m so excited to share some of my writing secrets with you guys, even if some of them are a little embarrassing. Also, I rearranged the questions so that I’m not repeating myself with some of the info.

Behind the Scene Writing Tag.

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Story Research: 9 Steps to a Pain-Free Interview

Like it or not, research is part of a writer’s job. We have a duty to our story to make sure we’re getting the details right. It’s a duty to our readers, as well. You will never know what knowledge your reader is coming to your book with, and you don’t want them to be distracted from your story because of factual errors.

As writers, we might think that simply doing a few searches online and using our imaginations is enough, but there’s no substitute for doing an interview someone with knowledge in your area of interest, whether through vigorous study or life experience. Maybe it’s just my journalist side talking, but I don’t think that there’s anything that can replace a first-hand account when it comes to learning about events, eras or cultures that you’re not familiar with.

Interview

How do I decide when a formal interview is necessary?

Interviews should never be your first course of action. Make sure that you’ve spent at least a week researching your before interviewing someone. Neither of you wants to spend the time it takes to do an interview for information you could have found on your own.

(If you need help with starting your research, read “How to Cut the Crap and Research Your Novel Efficiently” from Kristen @ She’s Novel.)

Of course, if you’re close to someone who knows a lot about a particular subject, it might be a lot easier to simply pick their brain whenever you have a specific question instead of digging around on google to find reliable sources. Even though this might be a more informal form of interviewing, it’s still good manners to make sure they’re comfortable with answering your questions, and to make sure to thank them in a meaningful way for their help.

Part One- Planning

So you’ve done some thorough background research, but you’re still a little fuzzy on some aspects of your topic or missing that last little bit of information you need to complete your vision. None of your friends are interested in your topic, and you know that this piece of information is vital for your story. It’s time to start planning your interview, my friend! To make the first few steps easier, I’ve even and made you an awesome Pre-Interview Worksheet!Read More »

8 Practical Tips for Loving the Writer in Your Life

Loving a writer isn’t easy, to the point that there’s quite a few people who will try to tell you to just avoid it altogether. We can be emotional, insecure, and sometimes, overly devoted to our craft. We have wild imaginations that don’t always work in our favor, and we don’t always have the best people skills. Just being in our lives means we might steal little pieces of you -or far more- and give them to our characters, and there’s a chance it won’t be the nice things.
Still, there’s also something beautiful about being in love with someone who feels things down to their core. Writers are curious and inventive, willing to try just about anything if they think it might give them something to use in a project someday. We’re very empathetic creatures, able to put ourselves in others shoes like they are characters in our stories. We’ve learned about love from studying the classics, and aspire to have relationships like those in our favorite stories.Read More »

The 7/7/7 Challenge (Meet My WIP)

Alright, so I’ve been nominated by the lovely Rae over at The Wallflower to complete the 7/7/7 Challenge. You can find her super awesome contribution, which makes me so excited to read the rest of her story, here. If you’re note familiar with the challenge, here’s a super quick rundown:

  • Go to page 7 of your WIP
  • Find line 7
  • Share lines 7-14 (7 lines) somewhere on the internet
  • When you’re done, nominate 7 other writers to post their own excerpts

MEET MY WIP

I’m also really excited about this because I’ve FINALLY DECIDED ON A STORY IDEA FOR THAT NOVEL I’M SUPPOSED TO BE WRITING THIS YEAR! It’s something that started with an idea I had when I was very little, but really came into bloom about a year ago because of a notecard I’d written a random writing prompt on:

This group is composed of four people with differing views on trade. They are all women.

Not a very exciting prompt, right? That’s why I’d chosen it out of the group, but now I have this massive New Adult Fantasy on my hands that I am VERY intimidated by, but can’t wait to share with all of you. Now that we all know what’s up, it’s time to share that excerpt, although I will remind you that this is from a RD and I have a propensity for excessively long sentences:

Lord Ragan Carmar had read the enthusiastic letter from his wife a dozen times, but was still trying to comprehend the magnitude of the project that she had proposed to the Council. Dreori said it was supposed to start small, but it seemed that she and the other three women left in charge had decided to add a small city to the already bustling Cathara. It was a brilliant concept, of course, but it was going to be expensive to execute. Ragan had actually found himself on the verge of tears the first and second times he’d read over the proposed budget for the “Center of Arts and Learning,” which his wife had so thoughtfully included in her letter. His fears were somewhat assuaged by the note written in her neat hand at the bottom of the formal document:

“It might be wise to mention to King Hammond that this project will doubtlessly benefit Illanya’s topnotch craftsmen. Their help would be needed to not only build the Center, but we would be honored if some of them remained to share their learning.”

It’s not a particularly compelling excerpt from my freewriting session last year, but it’s a good way to introduce the heart of my untitled story, the center that Dreori is describing. I won’t spoil anymore for you, even though I could gush all day about how beautiful and complicated this world is.

Now, if my list of nominations seems a little odd, that’s because I’ve nominated a few of my twitter followers that I just want to hear more from about their stories. Naturally, even if you’re not on this list, feel free to pretend I’ve nominated you and participate, as long as you link to your piece in the comments so that I get to read what you’ve written. Of course, linking back here is always welcome as well!

Nominations:

  1. Brandy Frank
  2. Victoria Fry
  3. Laura @ Ginger & Books
  4. Annie Hawthorne
  5. Jessica @ My Awkward Life
  6. Stefanie MacWilliams
  7. Katie Masters

Make sure to send me a link to see your posts, ladies!

Lots of love,

Nicole

August Wrap-Up and a SUPER IMPORTANT AND AWESOME ANNOUNCEMENT

Hey everyone!

First off, sorry I’ve been almost completely absent on Twitter this week! I started school, and it’s been pretty intense and weird and exciting, but I’ll talk about that a little more later. I promise I’m not going to disappear anytime soon, especially with all the awesome things I have planned for this month and more.

I thought that because August was such a crazy month for me, I wanted to share some of the things that have happened, and also share how Spun From Ink is doing. I want to make sure I’m being as transparent as possible with you guys, especially since there’s so many awesome things that I want you to be a part of as I start moving this blog forward. Make sure to start keeping an eye out for these kinds of posts at the beginning of every month so that you can know about all the amazing things headed your way!

AUGUST 2015 WRAP-UPAugust Wrap-Up and Review

Posts From August:

August Reading Goals (Keep reading to find out how I did!)

Using Life Experiences to Supercharge Your Writing Series:

This Is Not The Post You’re Looking For

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Yellow Flowers in a City Garden with Blue Background - Watering Your Work In Progress Garden Using Life Experiences

Using Life Experiences to Supercharge Your Writing, Part Three: Creative Watering for Your WIP Garden

Hey Everyone!

So, this is the third and final part of Using Life Experiences to Supercharge Your Writing! Isn’t that exciting?  If you’re feeling a little confused, why don’t you start by learning about all the amazing experiences you have to put into your writing by exploring your experience pool in Part One. If you want to learn how to use these experiences to create some awesome story ideas, head over to Part Two. If you already have a WIP, and want to find ways to make your characters and scenes more realistic, you’re in the right spot! These steps will usually work best if you have a completed draft to work with, but that might just be the way I go through my process, so if you’re really struggling with something, go ahead and use these steps and see what happens!Read More »

White Dandelion with the Sky as a Background

This Is Not the Post You’re Looking for (AKA: My Week in Review and Why I’m Not Posting What I Said I Would)

Hey Guys!

If you’re following me on twitter, which you really should do, you were probably expecting to see my Tips for Loving a Writer post today. If you’ve been following me just on my blog, which you should also do, you were anxiously awaiting the arrival of Part 3 of my Using Your Life Experiences to Supercharge Your Writing series about using your experiences on your WIPs.

If you haven’t noticed, this post is neither of those.

What’s going on?

My boyfriend moved down to Ohio this week, and I got to spend three days with him. It was a lot of fun, but it was extremely busy and I knew that I wasn’t going to have enough time to write a Part 3 of Using Your Life Experiences to the best of my ability. So, I went and looked at some of my post ideas, and thought that having my boyfriend help me with writing a post about his experiences as a non-writer and being in love with me would be a great way for us to bond before we started our long-distance thing.Read More »