Closing in on Nanowrimo (or not)

Moonday Mania

a blog for writers

Want to see how you do with deadlines? Want to push your boundaries and act like an author who has to turn in the full ms by the end of the month? The end of November is approaching and the close of National Novel Writing Month. One of the interesting things that is happening is how people react to a deadline. Those who are close to the fifty thousand word goal are pushing hard to finish. But those who aren’t close? Well, they have a variety of reactions.

There are the one’s who just give up. They know they can’t possibly hit 50K by the end of the month so why bother? These Nanoites just stop. It might be that they stop early, once they realize the month is not going to end like they want it too. It might be that they are giving up this week. When they realize they only have four more days left to cram an extra 25K in, and there simply aren’t enough hours in the day.

Then there are the ones who push on, no matter what. They resolutely keep struggling to finish. Even though they, and anyone who is sane, should know it ain’t gonna happen. But that doesn’t matte to them. They might make it! And if they don’t, they are sure going to be able to say they tried.

Of course there are the people like me. I never expected to actually finish the entire 50k this month. I knew going in that I was commuting, and working, and had other obligations that would make 50k impossible. But, I wanted to give myself a boost this month. Last November I didn’t write anything. Not one word. I know there are writers out there who work full time and still churn out books. That ain’t me.

Thanks Writertopia!

So, I set the goal of trying to finish a 30k ms instead. But I knew I might hit some bumps. And I did. My edits came in during week two and while they were extremely light, they still took some time. My CP (the amazing ML Guida) needed some editing done. So I took some time to do that. I could have said no, but she helps me out when I’m in a crunch. And I knew I wasn’t going to come close to finishing Nanowrimo.

So we come to the people like me. Great first week, declining second week, non-existant third week. Should have caught up over Thanksgiving, but I spent time with my family instead. So here I sit with 6963 words done out of my 30k goal. But I have four days left! So I’m going to be one of those optimistic people trying to push to at least get something done so my word count looks less pitiful. I figure I can reach 10k easily, so the goal is to hit 15K before the end.

And possibly 20K. If nothing crops up. Sure.

How do deadlines work for you? Does it make a difference if it’s set by someone else? What about deadlines that are for work or family members? Are you like me and put off the self-imposed deadlines for the “real” deadlines? What does this mean for your career?


Filed under channeling success, Moonday mania, Nanowrimo, Nanowrimo, Writer's Journey

8 responses to “Closing in on Nanowrimo (or not)

  1. Jessica, I can’t figure out the quitters. Who knows, maybe they will hit 50K. But if they don’t, isn’t it better to keep going? Wouldn’t they rather finish with 20K than 2K? Each word, even if it isn’t perfect (and goodness knows NaNo writing won’T be perfect. Revisions, anyone?) brings the writer that much closer to their goal: a completed novel. Deadline, schmeadline. KEEP WRITING!

    • That’s what I think. And guess what? I’m already 1,901 words closer as of this morning. But then again, maybe that is what makes the difference between those who finish a novel in a year, or two, or three, and those who never do.

  2. Holley Trent

    I think my self-imposed deadlines are even more strict than the ones publishers set for me. When I get a manuscript back with edits and a request for it to be returned in seven days, I sort of scoff. (Don’t tell anyone I said that. I like having a cushion.)

    I’m a “make hay while the sun shines” kind of girl, and that sometimes means I finish projects way ahead of my drop-dead date. Fortunately, things in HolleyLand are usually very sunny. I’ve got self-entertaining kids (for the most part), I don’t commute, and people generally leave me alone to get stuff done.

    • I believe it, Holley! You are amazing, you put me to shame with how many words you get written. I would love to have your ability to put it all aside and get it done. And as for that cushion, keep it. You never know when you might need it. Not for the revisions, I know you can knock them out of the park, but just in case. Last year I needed every single day they gave me when Little Red Riding Wolf’s revisions came through, not for me, but because my mom chose that week to go into the hospital. It was a crazy week.She got better and the revisions got done but boy was I glad for every one of those seven days!

  3. Love your attitude, Jessica! Makes me think of The Tortoise and the Hare. I had a busy fall with things other than writing but I set myself a goal to finish a final draft by the end of November anyhow. And I made it 2 weeks early! Just took it slow and steady. Yay for both of us!

    • Good for you, Elaine. I had. Great day today and I’m hoping to maybe hit the 20k mark after all. Who know, maybe I’ll even finish the rough draft. Stranger things have happened. I’ll just keep tortoising along. 🙂

  4. Good work, Jessica. You have words on the page, you kept your other commitments and that’s what’s important.
    I did Nano in 2010 and I did finish with a couple words over 50K. The experience was grueling at times and I learned that it’s important to watch out for my internal editor, I will probably not use many of the 50K words. It was too much, too fast, little quality.
    However, I am a goal setter–weekly. I rarely get everything done on my list, but it helps me prioritize and weed out things I want but don’t need.
    Good luck with the next few days!

    • It would be interesting to get the entire 50k done in one month. If I had the time, I think I could do it. But it would require editing. Then again, I tend to edit a lot anyway, what’s the difference? Plotting has helped, I don’t think I would have anything reasonable if I hadn’t plotted, done character sheets, and figured out the theme of the book, ahead of time. There is definitely a balance between just throwing words on a page to get them out and editing so much you never move past chapter one. Finding that balance, is the key for each of us.

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