Today, I am starting NaNoWriMo. It is National Novel Writing Month, and this post says I am doing it my way, because I am not writing a novel. I am just pushing myself to write 50,000 words of content for my blogs, and my freelance clients. I have been slacking in October, slowly recovering from FinCon and a lot of travel. But these are just excuses you make when you don’t want to do something.
And writing is like the gym. This morning, I went running after a few days of laziness. It was hard, and my lungs begged me to stop, but I pushed through and arrived home with a smile and some killer endorphins rush. I wondered why I hadn’t gone in five days. The same way, the more I write, the more I feel like writing.
Some articles are draining emotionally, because you put a lot of yourself in your writing. But even then, there is always space for more. From my estimate, I think I wrote about 10,000 words in October. A usual month is probably around 20,000. So NaNoWriMo means writing five times more than last month.
I am going to try to have a big push at the beginning, so I can afford to take a break on some days. I am going to Texas next week, and then flying to Europe in December. I will spend at least 19 days away from home this month. Maybe 24 if I don’t come back between Texas and Europe.
Traveling messes with my routines. Be it eating, exercising or writing, everything takes a toll. So I need to build a buffer before I leave next Tuesday. (Quickly does a word count check. 287. Oh my. That’s not going exactly the number we expected. 49,713 to go).
So why embark on such a crazy project?
Accountability. I live in the jungle, and there is no one to crack the whip when I slack. Now, I announced to the world I would write like a machine, and that is what I will do. Because I said so. And failure hurts more than my fingers will at the end of the month.
Pride. I love the feeling of accomplishment you get when a task is done. After running, after finishing a project,… but I rarely follow through. I generally do 90% of something and call it good enough. That doesn’t make me feel as good as really crossing the finish line.
It’s not that hard. If you want to achieve a big goal and it is daunting, you should break it into smaller goals. Save $1,000,000? That’s $500 per month for the next 35 years (at 8%). Which is only $20 a day. NaNoWriMo is 1,667 words a day. That’s only a couple of posts. Knowing myself, I’d rather write 3-5 posts a day and then have some breathing room for all the traveling and fun that I have planned for this month. And jet lag. Jet lag is brutal.
Getting back on the horse. I mentioned October was a low month for writing. I didn’t feel like it, and since I don’t need the income, I didn’t have a real motivation to keep going. I needed a break. But I also like how I feel when I am productive, and if I am too nice to myself, I will never get back to it. So what better way than writing a few thousand words a day?
Becoming better. The best way to become a better (writer, runner, painter, whatever,…) is to practice. I sometimes cringe when I read my old posts. I will probably cringe when 2019 me reads this post. That is good news. You are improving. My English has improved, my typing speed has improved, my spell check skills have improved,.. and such a month of intense thinking and creativity will have a positive impact.
I am cheating a bit by writing this post, and the likely follow up posts that would happen this month. So I’ll keep it short and please get in touch if you are thinking about starting too, and want an accountability buddy!