NaNoWriMo ate my life

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Ah, yes, November. That time of year where I vainly try to write 50,000 words in 30 days, and usually peter out around 20,000 – 25,000. And yet, I insist on trying. 20,000 words in a month is still twice my usual goal of 10,000 words in a month. Plus, it’s fun. (Yes, I realize that “fun” is a relative term.)

Except this year, we’re a third of the way through the month and I’m more or less on track? (KNOCK ON WOOD.) I’ve been sidelining some other things (like this here blog) to focus on getting words on the page, but my efforts seem to be paying off. The goal for today is to have 15,000 words written, and I’m sitting at 12,285 (I had a killer migraine yesterday, the kind where I couldn’t even sleep because my head was pounding so hard, so I only wrote 500 words).

But perhaps more important than my total word count is the fact that I’ve managed to write something every day in November. I’ve been really struggling to get back to a consistent writing practice—I keep letting the “urgent” (lesson plans! grading! walking the dog!) get in the way of the “important” (working on my novel! submitting stuff!). The truth is that even though I’m busy, I still have time to write for 15 or 30 minutes every day. I just haven’t been forcing myself to do it.

Well, now I am. I’ve gotten back into that long-term flow of the project, where I’m thinking about it constantly, imagining what-ifs and figuring out what my characters would do in situations I find myself in. Self-help gurus love to talk about “flow,” the state of being “in the zone” and essentially getting shit done. I’ve definitely felt that flow state while writing, but I think there’s a larger, less immediate type of flow that comes from working on a project deeply every day. Or, at the very least, consistent work makes it much, much easier to access the flow state. What do I know? I’m just a writer.

Speaking of which, I have 3,000 words to write today. I’d better get cracking.

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