NaNoWriMo: Hitting Your Goals!
As I do every year, I am attempting NaNoWriMo this year. That’s right, I said attempting. The only year I was able to successfully write a novel for this event was in 2015, which happened to be my first year doing the National November Writing Month. I have failed every year since, usually in the first week!
So, what’s the hang up? Honestly, I think it’s a timing thing for me. I need sufficient “downtime” between projects, and I am notoriously known for starting projects in September and finishing them mid-to-late October. So, I usually only have a small window to process my previous project before diving into the NaNoWriMo one. But not this year!
I was lucky enough to finish “Submissive Tendencies” in mid-August. I dabbled on my current WIP “Eternally Yours” for most of October but did not make enough pages to call it my next novel…until yesterday, November 1st.
Now, I already had 12k on this project. So, I am not counting the previous words I had written in October. I am only counting words I make from November 1st-30th. I really hadn’t intended on doing NaNoWriMo this year. It was spontaneous. I was inspired by fellow BVS author Patricia Elliott, who is also doing the event. I decided that I was going to attempt it once again.
I actually think that this year is different from previous years—I feel like I’m being more disciplined and have attainable goals for me and my process. That’s what this blog post is all about; hitting those goals.
What I want to note first is that this is what works for me. Every writer has a different process; what works for me may not work for you and vice versa. This is just my take on things and my advice. You can take it, if you like, or leave it, if you like. Hopefully, you’ll take something away from it that works for you and your writing. I love to help.
My advice for NaNoWriMo is to have a set goal. It doesn’t have to be the 50k words that is set for the event. It can be above or below that, depending on your own process and experience. For instance, my own goal is not 50k. It’s 75k. I went above because I know I can hit that number. In reality, you can too!
I say everyone can hit it because it’s just about getting your butt in that seat and writing. AND your first draft doesn’t need to be perfect. Some like to edit as they go (that’s me, I do this) and some like to just get those pages down. I always say that pages made (or even just a paragraph) is better than no pages at all, whether they are good or bad.
So, how do I make 75k in just 30 days?
For me, it’s discipline. I am fortunate enough that I am a full-time author. I sit at my desk—or on the couch—and write every day. Finding your exclusive writing time is very important, whether it is in the wee hours of the morning or just an hour before bedtime.
I also try not to look at the whole picture. I try to break it down into those bite sized goals and aim for them. For instance, to reach 75k in 30 days, I need to make 2500 words/day. In reality, this isn’t too bad because the goal for the event is 1667/day. Of course, I am extra and I LOVE a challenge. So, I upped it to 3000 words/day. What’s important is that you set that word goal and you crush it!
Again, this is where discipline comes in. You have to write the words and make the goal. Some days you will struggle, as we all do. And that’s OK! I find that if I get behind on my word count, I take the amount I’m behind and break it up, adding it to the remaining days in the month, to those daily goals. Believe me, you will have days where you absolutely annihilate that goal and find yourself ahead or break even.
So, make the words, do the thing! I believe in you!