NaNoWriMo 2010: think baby (as in baby steps)

Question of the Day: What is the one tactic you use to prevent yourself from boarding a train at The Procrastination Station?

One thing that gets most people excited about NaNoWriMo is the thought of actually winning it…of writing a book that consists of 50,000 words in a single month. Ah…like Audrey Hepbern says, “wouldn’t it be loverly”? It would indeed. I mean, it’s only an average of 1,700 words that need to be written per day, so it shouldn’t be too bad.

Here’s how many people start out with NaNoWriMo:

Day Negative One: Get ecstatic and absolutely PUMPED about the book idea, look over plot/chapter/character outlines one more time, dream about what the first word will be

Day One: Begin writing furiously, come up with about 2,000 words, feel triumphant, re-read twice and take out a couple weird sentences. Off to a good start!

Day Two: The MC is getting a bit boring by himself, so introduce 2nd MC. Write 1,600 words, solid.

Day Three: Get in 1k.

Weekend One: Averaging about 900 words a day. It WOULD be more if it weren’t for work, parent duties, oh–and that wedding shower you’re hosting for your best friend! D: But hey, every word counts right? That’s what they always say!

Day Nine: Writer’s Block. Great.

Day Ten: Barely able to get through a paragraph. Why does November have to be so busy?? Oh, and it doesn’t help that Writer’s Block is still hovering around.

Day Twelve: FORGET IT!! *Wah* I’ll never win NaNoWriMo at this rate, I was crazy to ever even THINK that I could pull this off! *pulls hair off and out instead* ARghh, I QUIT!!!! *throw computer at the goldfish bowl…and miss*

This was me during 2006 and 2007; in fact, several NaNoers give up with a scenario like Day Twelve, give or take a day. They begin to realize that…1,700 words is actually A LOT more than it seems to be at first thought. Sometimes, I still feel like this…last year, I was very close to giving up. As a senior filling out college apps, senior project forms, and whatnot, it was very difficult to keep up with my writing. I barely made it.

This year, I have a specific goal in mind that I hope you NaNoers will share with me. Many people get excited about the MAJOR goal and think, Omggg it’d be SO totally cool if I actually wrote a BOOK (of 50,000 words) in a MONTH and, then, like, publish it! Then, by the second week (or perhaps the second day if you’re REALLY having trouble or are very fickle), your excitement plummets to the ground, like a football out-of-bounds, with a dissatisfied bump. And then your dream of being the next J.K. Rowling (or Stephen King, whatever floats your boat) crashes and burns.

Instead of thinking about the overall prize — OMG OMG I’M GONNA BE A NY TIMES BESTSELLER, Y’ALL! — ponder over the little goals that will lead you to that reward. Just think of a baby. I mean, in the first few months of its existence, a baby’s ultimate mission is to learn how to walk (OMG OMG MOMMY’S GONNA BE PROUD!), and eventually through baby steps he or she will reach that goal.

Examples of NaNo baby steps: 1) Write 1,667 words a day (a standard baby step), 2) take time for 3 breaks per day (2 hours each) to get your words in, 3) reserve one day a week to have a deadly write-in (either by yourself or with other NaNoers in your region if you wish).

I’ve decided that for every day I don’t get 1,667 words written, I will give myself an extra half hour of reading and homework. I have also decided that for every 500 extra words I write, I will allow myself to watch one rerun episode of Glee or Smallville! Yayy for incentives! They almost always work if they’re appealing enough, so try them out yourself. For instance, for each baby step you accomplish, depending on how big a step is, treat yourself to a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte or an afternoon cat nap. And once you get into the stride, each day gets a little bit easier!

Looking forward to writing with you all beginning November 1st :) Baby steps, that’s all it is!


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