Monday, November 7, 2011

NaNoWriMo: An exercise in endurance

Are you doing NaNoWriMo?

Still writing?

It's Day 7. Almost everyone I know will, by this point, have had at least one day of not making her or his word count. There will have been panic, freaking out, heart attacks, furious writing, and relief as the word count is made up.

But what is NaNoWriMo? It's an exercise in writing 50,000 words by the end of November. I would like to point out that most published works are longer than 50K. Which means that, if you intend your novel for traditional publication, you'll probably extend NaNoWriMo into December and perhaps even January, depending on the story and the genre. And then, you'll begin the editing.

Writing is an endurance sport. If you don't make count today, don't freak - you can catch up. But if you miss tomorrow, and the next day, because grandma insists you drive out to Hicksville where there's no electricity to power your laptop for Thanksgiving - still don't freak. Maybe you won't be able to officially make 50K in November. Don't burn yourself out trying to make up for it. Just keep writing.

If you have to, subtract the total from your goal (3 days of the standard 1.67K is about 5K words), and make that your new goal. Can't make 50,000? No prob. Your goal is 45,000 anyway. You can do that. No excuses.

Think of NaNoWriMo as endurance training. It's not the marathon - it's the preparation. Because if you're serious about writing, it's something you'll do every single day for the rest of your publishing life. As soon as you finish one book, you need to start on another. (Yes, there will be days spent just editing and planning. That's part of writing.) The joy of NaNoWriMo is that, by forcing yourself to have a goal, you force yourself to keep writing. You make a habit. And you keep that habit.

So it's Day 7 of NaNoWriMo. Still writing? Good. Don't stop. In fact, instead of commenting, just paste the last sentence you wrote as a comment.

Now drop and give me 500 (new words).

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