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