Writing Tip: What to do if you can't do NaNoWriMo

Writing Tip: What to do if you can't do NaNoWriMo 

For those new to writing, every November there is a self-motivating competition called NaNoWrMo. There are also camps other times of the year where you can set other goals to track like editing and such. The November event has a goal for authors to hit 50,000 words within that month.

Right? So 50,000 words in one month is pretty daunting for any author. For those who are the slower, more careful authors who mix research and editing into their first draft, this seems an impossibility. Some might refuse and turn their nose up at NaNoWriMo each year. They watch others write an hit that 50k mark with perhaps a mixture of envy people have free time and disdain for sloppy first drafts. At least I imagine that since I'm a sloppy first drafter. 

Others just get too stressed out with deadlines. What do I want to say to all these folks? Try it anyway with your own goal. 

What I mean by this is I do NaNoWriMo every year, but I actually only sign up if I'm super motivated and ahead at work. I only used the website a couple times to do NaNoWriMo. Instead, I make my own goals. Despite Covid, I'm going to do it. I will never hit 50k. I'd have to do it within 2 weeks (once I did it in 3) because I get 80 research papers mid-November. I'm also teaching online and in-person and the first 2 weeks is the last I will see students to help them. I'll be very busy. I think I might go for 30,000 in two weeks. Why this number? I can write 2,500 in a night and on great nights 5,000. I will have 14 nights, but about 4 of those will be grading. If you're keeping up with the math 2,500 x (14-4)= 25,000. The extra 5,000 to hit thirty is to make it a real challenge. 

Why do this? It's not a deadline (I'm used to those), but a goal. Goals are meant to strive for, but it's okay to not meet one; simply roll it over to another week, month, year. If I can't get to 30k, I'll give myself another week. This is how I call myself the "goal slayer." My goals are lose and don't have a time limit. I worry about deadlines first, then try to attack my goals. Every goal I have made for myself in this past decade, I have achieved because I challenge myself without a pressured deadline.

The point is try on your own. I only hit 50 k twice since 2013, but it motivated me to write. If one day you are close to 50k, go join. I find that NanNoWriMo gets me into a set pattern of writing daily that carries into December and January--the months I have time to write more. I find it an effective self-motivator. Maybe you might too.



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