I’m slightly ahead in my Nanovel this year; I’m currently (as of last night, Day 10) at 21,220 words. To be on par, I only needed 16,667 by that stage. So I am 4,553 words or 2.7 writing days ahead, if I sprain my wrist or something. (Which I WON’T do. Touch wood. Or wallaby nose.)
My Friday ended with my only have written 734 words, and I did promise myself this year that every day I would write a minimum of 1,667 to ensure I made the target. Friday was a tough day. I had work, it was a Friday…you know the drill. And I have to say, 734 words on a Friday was a lot better than the zero words I’ve written since July. But it still wasn’t 1,667, like I’d promised myself.
Still, I let it go. I went to bed happy with myself, knowing that it was fine to have a day where I wasn’t pushing myself and that all writers need time off (I’d had time off since July, but okay) and that I could make it up the next day if I felt so inclined.
Yesterday it got to 8:50pm and I had 543 words.
I could see where this was headed. The exact same way it headed last year, when I crashed and burned.
There was a pattern forming: last weekend I’d spent most of my Sunday at the National Zoo (cute wallaby pics above) and I still exceeded my word limit for that day. This weekend I was more inclined to invest my time into AssCreedOd (amazing game; review to come).
Earlier in the day I’d come across Mel Robbins talk on How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over (stay with me here, I promise I’m not someone who watches TED Talks regularly) and something had stuck with me from it. As adults, we really do need to parent ourselves. Because no, we’re never gonna feel like doing stuff.
Some people are truly awesome at this work of parenting themselves. They are super responsible and they have To Do lists and they instinctively know how to use calendars (if you know Myers-Briggs, these are the SJs of the world and they are quite vital). Other people, like me, well, we’re not so great at that kind of thing. We’d rather play than work. We don’t feel any real guilt when we don’t do something we “should”, like the washing or the dishes or the vacuuming or completing the word limit we promised ourselves we would do that day…
So, did I want to finish my Nano or not? I decided to parent myself, at almost-9pm on a Saturday night. “I’m sorry,” I told my partner virtuously, “I can’t continue our Netflix binge-watch tonight; I have to do my words.” And then I sat down, and I did them.
I wrote to 1,667 for the day. Then I figured I needed under another thousand to make up my words from yesterday, so I might as well do that, since my partner had gone to bed to read.
So I wrote another thousand or so, and I made up my word limits for both days, and I’m back on track. I’m still ahead. I’m going places, baby!
I don’t mean to suggest that I did something wrong on the Friday, or that everyone needs to be like me and write to the word limit daily. Some people can write 28 words one day and 5K the next. I applaud those people. I am jealous of those people. But I need continuous momentum on a project like this, otherwise I get bored or scared and I drop out. For me, this was the best outcome.
- If you’re behind in your word count, don’t despair. It’s just Nano. It has no bearing on your worth as a person. But if you want to catch up, that’s awesome! Drop me a line here on or Twitter and I will be your personal cheerleader.
- A recommendation if you’re a Wrimo who’s flagging: try @NaNoWordSprints on Twitter, even if you don’t have a Twitter yourself. They do writing sprints of anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes, and it’s a fun way to feel global camaraderie and keep focused for shorter periods.
- If Twitter’s not your thing, there is also an official Nano sprint timer, with optional prompts (called Dares) that you can use.
- Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey truly is an amazing game and I have NO RAGRETS about playing it *mumble* all day.