Sunday was the opening bell for my self-imposed NaNoWriMo. I aim for 2,000 words per day, which should get me to 50,000 words by the end of the month with a 6,000 word buffer.
The key being those 2k words. Every. Single. Day.
Which is the whole point of doing NaNo in the first place, at least in my mind. Everywhere we turn for writing advice, someone–well, many someones–say those three famous words: Write Every Day. And we all nod, smile, and make a mental commitment to do just that. And we do it today, tomorrow, and the next day, and maybe the next.
Then we skip a day because (pick one or more reasons): child sick, parent sick, self sick, sister had baby, sister-in-law had baby, daughter had baby, someone graduated and there’s a party, someone retired and there’s a party, there’s a party, the friend you haven’t seen in years is in town for one day only, the dog finally managed to swallow that stupid sock he’s been chewing on for the past week, etc.
Okay, we’ll get back to it tomorrow. We write a day, then something else comes up. So, we skip another day. And the next day something else comes up. Before we know it, it’s been a week and we haven’t written a word.
Yep, been there. Visit there on a regular basis, which just gives my guilt plenty of fodder for dragging my creative energy down. At least now I’ve learned (and yes, it took a looong while to learn it) I need to just sit down, pull out the pencil and paper (because it’s faster and more convenient than my laptop), and just scribble something. Anything. It especially helps when I write a note to my Muse; it’s like a siren’s call to him. And I need to do it every single day. Luckily, I now get paid to write–I switched from an IT career to technical writing, so technically I do write every day.
I’m talking creative writing. I’m talking the stuff I want to write. And I know nothing will get written in any reasonable amount of time if I don’t write every day. Hence, NaNoWriMo. Ten years ago I decided to try it for the sole purpose of forcing myself to get into the habit of writing every day. In October of that year, I started getting up at 4:30 in the morning so I’d have at least an hour to write before the kids got up. And it worked well, at least until I changed jobs and acquired a 45-60 minute commute (depending on weather and traffic). Now, I don’t write in the morning except on weekends. And I’ve fallen out of my daily writing habit. And I need to write a new book because I didn’t structure it right the first time when I tried writing it during NaNo a couple years back.
According to the experts (whomever they may be), a new habit takes about 21 to 28 days to form (but no one’s really proven that out, so we’ll just use the numbers as a ballpark). NaNoWriMo is perfect, then, because it’s 30 days. So, in theory, if you want to “win” NaNo, you have to write every day. And since I’ve gotten out of the habit of writing every day since the daily schedule-shattering chaos of the holidays, I need to do something to get that habit back. There’s still time to join the marathon–any takers?
Oh, BTW, so far I’m on par with my word count for two days in. I’ll try to remember to post my actual word count on Saturday–accountability is key. If I tell you all I’ll do it, well, I’d better do it. And I’d better make the quota so I don’t look bad 🙂
So, a take on Dory’s little ditty from Finding Nemo: Just keep writing, just keep writing, just keep writing, writing, writing.