While my fellow writers were plowing their way to that 50,000 word goal by writing every day, I was doing what I pretty much always do…huge bursts of writing, then nothing for several days. Which, yes, does bring the numbers up but does not make for a “real” NaNo win. The purpose of NaNo (in my mind at least) is to reset our writing habits, to put our bottom ends in our chair every day until we’ve put enough words on the page for that day’s goal. Not to continue our long time habit of procrastination to the last possible second, then pounding away to get works on the page.
This method does work for some people, and did work for me for a long time. Until the gaps between those huge bursts of writing got longer and longer. A housekeeping analogy would be how much easier it is to wash dishes every day instead of plowing through the stack when one can no longer see the counter. Yeah, I carry that feast/famine habit through a lot of my life.
At 30,000 plus words and one week left, I quit NaNo. Yes I could have made up the missing words and been a “success” but it would have been the same hollow victory as in the past. This was brought home to me by another of Kristen Lamb’s wonderful Blogs, this one about retraining our bad habits. I can’t really say I saw the light but I did see a light, probably from mentally pounding my head on the desk. And I realized, yet again, how we sabotage ourselves, as writers and as humans.
So, it starts today, and continues on. Would you like to join me in this quest to retrain (**) years of bad habits? The first step seems to be acknowledging those habits. Done. Next step is taking that next step.
Here we go…..
[I can’t sign off without acknowledging the writers who have helped encourage me to this point. If you have a chance, check out their blogs. There’s Kristen, of course. And Terry O’Dell is always good for time management tips. Instead of loading you down with more links, I’ll share them out. You’ll be hearing a lot more from me, one small step at a time]