Yes, it’s that time again. If you’re anything like me it sort of crept up on you, too. 2017 has been … well, let’s just say we’ve all had a bit more to think about than just an arbitrary writing event.
I have been doing NaNoWriMo for the past couple of years, but honestly I was a bit torn about whether to participate this year. If it hasn’t been obvious from the sporadic-at-best blog schedule lately, I have been pretty busy this year, and that isn’t likely to change next month. NaNo is a big ask (particularly when you like to set stretch goals, like me), and I don’t want to be trying to overclock myself on both my “work” and my writing. And if it comes right down to it, I’m going to have to choose “paying rent” over NaNo (I know, I know, not a real writer, obviously).
I think I will end up doing NaNo, mainly because I know how little self-control I have, but I’m not going to be doing an “official” NaNo – that is, I won’t be starting a new novel on the first of the month (As of writing this, about a week before it’ll be posted, I’m 70,000 words into the story, so I’m not even close to ‘just starting’).
I’m torn on whether to go standard goal or stretch goal – I think I’ll end up looking to aim for a stretch goal, but I’m going to go in expecting that I might have to go back to standard goal or just give up halfway through. Again, it’s all going to depend on how much I have to do that month, which is difficult to tell right now.
If I’m honest, there is another reason that I want to do NaNo this year beyond low-self-control. I talk a lot about using NaNo not as a challenge but as a time to experiment. It’s 30 days, you get a definite ending point, and you’ve got a large community there to encourage you to write daily, so you get to be intimately familiar with whether a particular change works for you or not.
And recently I’ve been looking at my process, and I want to ‘level up’. I need to get better at doing more with less time – and I also need to get better at working for longer. I have been collecting some numbers over the last few months, and it turns that if I’m just writing, I can generally write for about 4-5 hours (on a single project – I last longer if I spend that long on a single project and then move to a few smaller jobs, like a blog post, a few pages of editing, or some formatting and e-mails) before I get fatigued. I also haven’t yet been able to write more than 8,000 words in a day. Given the amount of things I try to do in a single day, it’d be a great help if I could extend the number of useful hours in my day, and practice being able to get more words out in the average day, I’d take a lot of the pressure off myself.
I also need to work on my typing. I have a pretty decent typing speed, but I could be a lot quicker if I didn’t make so many damn typos. I’m very inaccurate, and I spend a lot of time backspacing, so I’m going to try and improve my skills there. It’ll make the whole process a lot easier, and I think it’ll make it easier to type without interrupting my own train of thought.
So upshot of all this rambling: I will be doing NaNoWriMo this year, but I’m not going to be doing it for the wordcount. I’m going to be using it as practice to figure out how I can be more productive, and to try and practice my typing skills.
So that’s me this year. What are your NaNo goals? Just to finish? Or are you adding an extra twist to your NaNo experience?