In exactly one month, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) will officially kick off. I have NaNo’ed (to “nano” is a verb in my world) six times successfully. All that means is that I have completed the challenge of writing 50K words of a novel in November. Despite the fact that I now have over 300K words of fiction (not all on the same project), I have nothing like a completed novel, as I explained in NaNoWriMo: What Now?
Here’s what I wrote last December about my learning takeaways:
What I’ve Learned from 6 Successful NaNos (NaNo is also a noun):
- I really like committing to a 30-day challenge.
- Even better, I like winning the 30-day challenge.
- It’s very easy to start a novel.
- It’s very difficult to write middles.
- The Internet is evil.
- I can check my email and facebook and twitter 7000 times in 30 minutes.
- I have no willpower whatsoever when it comes to NOT checking my email, facebook, twitter.
- I write better when I’m not checking my email, facebook, and twitter so many times.
- It’s easy for me to find all this time for writing in November, but I make excuses for the rest of the year.
- A daily word count goal is motivating. As long as it’s less than 1,667.
I thought I might try to use some of my takeaways to tweak this year’s NaNoWriMo and make it a little more successful. Once again, my goal is to focus on middles and ends. I’d really, REALLY like to FINISH this novel. That’s all. Just finish. That would be huge.
I feel like I am already in the habit of writing daily thanks to the #EdBDaily Challenge. So I don’t think that will be particularly difficult. But I would like for writing on my fiction projects to be something I do more than once a year.
The 1,667 daily word count is difficult to reach when you’re working full time, parenting two very challenging children, commuting 60 miles each way to work, traveling twice in November for conferences, and also hosting Thanksgiving and doing all the cooking. 1,667 words a day certainly establishes a habit–but it’s mostly a habit I’m eager to break by the time December rolls around. I need to take a break from the intensity of producing that many words every day, and that break turns into… well, a yearlong break. I’m burnt out after writing 1,667 words a day for 30 days.
This year, I’ve decided to experiment with something a little more sustainable. I’m calling it NaNoWriMo in Two, and it starts today. I am going to spread my 50K words over October and November, aiming for a much more reasonable 800 words per day. We’ll see how that goes.