LJWorld.com weblogs The Line of Letters
I hit the 25,000-word mark sometime last Tuesday, and yesterday I made it over 31,000. In case you’re just joining us, the idea of NaNoWriMo is to write a 50,000-word novel in thirty days, which I did last year in about 25 days. My goal this year was to write about 2000 words a day and get a 60,000-word novel written in 30 days. I’m a little ahead, which is a good thing.
I wrote like crazy on Thursday morning last week in order to go out with some friends who had stopped through town and who I don’t see enough of. I made my daily goal and a little more so I was feeling pretty good when I went out. Friday I didn’t write quite half my daily goal, and Saturday morning wasn’t much more productive, so I lost a full day’s lead my daily writing. Sunday, Halfway Day to WriMos, I made up a little ground and I’m only about a half a day behind my daily goal.
This is important because I want to make sure that I’m building on the habits I’ve been nurturing since completing NaNo last year. I try very hard to write every day but I have been lousy about meeting daily goals. It’s okay at this point because I’m not dependent on my writing to pay the bills, it’s still a hobby. Rather, this NaNo was meant to get me in the habit of meeting my goals every day or as often as possible so that when I set a goal of writing a 6,000-word short story I can finish in two weeks or less if I just say I’m going to write 500 words a day.
It sounds easier than it really is. I allow myself to become distracted (like I’m not going to watch The Prisoner tonight on AMC even though I REALLY want to) and then I just don’t write. When a couple of days go by and all I’ve done is Twitter and Facebook some things, I feel awful and then I open the neglected file and try to figure out where I left off and how to get back in the groove.
The answer, I always tell myself, is to write every damn day, even if only for ten or fifteen minutes. It’s important, it’s like exercise.
If I want to get better, and if I believe Malcolm Gladwell’s theories, then I have to do this every day. If I don’t then I’m not really a writer and I want to be a writer. I will be a writer. Maybe not a big, household name like John Grisham, but I’d be okay with being Michael Moorcock or Neil Gaiman famous.
So this year I haven’t neglected my life as much as I did last year. The writing is better and more consistent and I’m making room in my head for more ideas that keep coming unbidden to mind as I clear the space by writing this novel. I’ve made it halfway so far, and I’ve got another 40 or 50,000 words already vying for attention in the coming year. I have to stay focused on the immediate goal: 60,000 words by midnight November 30th. It’s only another fifteen days at 2,000 words a day. I can do it.