I was sorely tempted. I love NaNoWriMo. I love the challenge, and the exhilaration of doing something almost impossible but not quite. I love the rush when I have fallen behind and then I sit down and hammer out 5,000 words in a day.I do not love how I feel after that, though.
I will forever be grateful for NaNoWriMo because without it I probably would never have gotten beyond the very first words of any story. I wouldn’t have met the writers that formed the group that met every month for five years. And I wouldn’t have the almost-finished novel sitting as a stack of paper on my desk.
While I usually finish and „win“ NaNoWriMo I also usually stop writing for about two months afterwards. After pressing out all those words I just sit back and don’t write at all. Even if I want to. And getting back into a daily writing habit actually becomes harder after having written almost 2,000 words every day.
And I want to become a real writer some day, someone who writes novel after novel, not someone who writes half a novel once a year and then never finishes it. In order to do that I need a habit of writing something between 500 and 1,000 words a day. I also need the very new habit of revising, finishing, and publishing things but first of all I need to write.
You can’t publish what you haven’t written.
500 words a day used to be pretty sustainable. Especially when I managed to start writing at about 8 am. I’d clean the breakfast table off, get the laptop out (no wifi!), and start writing. Half an hour later I’d usually have my 500 words and life was good.
Then my husband started getting up earlier. Instead of 9.15 he’d be up and about at 8.30, and if I had dawdled a bit over tea I had a problem. Mind you, my husband is all for creativity so if I told him that I desperately need that time to write he’d stay in the annex until 9.15.
But this time over breakfast is the only time we spend together all day. And it’s a bit cruel to have someone postpone his breakfast for an hour after waking up hungry.
So what I need in my life is a flexible habit of writing about 500 to 1,000 words a day. One that I can move around a bit if need be. Not a mad dash to „winning“ an arbitrary competition. A small daily thing.
And I think I may have found a solution. First I need to bring my laptop into the kitchen again so that I have it in the morning when I want to write. And second my schedule just changed, and I’m having more breaks in the afternoon again. And I really hope that on days when I don’t manage to write in the morning I can use those breaks.
So instead of big, mad, crazy, fun challenge I’m choosing slow and steady this year. I hope it works.
Wish me luck.