Emily Gilman

Making Stuff Up and Writing It Down Since (Before) I Learned How to Write

What would winning look like?

Leave a comment

So I mentioned I’m doing NaNoWriMo this year. Attempting. Whatever.

Here’s the thing: I don’t actually expect to hit 50k. I’m not even going to try to aim for 50k. I’m aiming for 30k. I have a full time job that requires a lot of energy. I have a bunch of social plans I’ve already made for November, including several days around Thanksgiving. If I can average a thousand words a day I will be elated.

Why, then, am I doing NaNoWriMo if I’m not expecting to “win”? I hate losing, and I hate failing at things (or feeling like I’m failing, which I realize isn’t always the same thing). I expect to get good things out of this experience, but part of the point is to have that specific goal; since I’m not aiming for the mutually-agreed-upon target, here’s what I am aiming for:

  • I want to get back into the habit of writing regularly. Having a difficult but achievable word count goal (30k for the month/1k per day) will encourage me to stick with it and make it a priority.
  • I want to try to write faster and worry less about whether it’s “right.” It’s not going to be right on the first draft, and starting this during NaNoWriMo helps me give myself permission to go for quantity over quality. After all, it’s going to need tons of revisions no matter what I do; I might as well focus on giving myself something — anything — to work with.
  • I want to actually write this novel. It’s been kicking around in my brain making me crazy for seven years and counting, here, and I’d like to have something to show for it. If I can, by some miracle, write 50k words of it, that’s a big percentage of the project done. If I manage a smaller number of words — the 30k I’m aiming for, or even 20k — but build up good habits and momentum and keep myself excited about this project, that works too. But I’d rather have a smaller total word count and keep writing than hit 50k and give up.

So that’s what winning looks like for me, in case you were wondering, but mostly in case I get partway through November and forget.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s