Thursday, October 20, 2011

NaNoWriMo: The Ultimate Goal-Setting Exercise

Last year, I signed up for Nanowrimo.  I was really excited about it, even if I worried about having enough time to do it.

Last year, I totally failed.

But I did learn some things.  And re-reading those posts today, I learned some other things.

For example, I learned that last November I hoped that by this November I would be finished my current WIP and ready to start something new.

Yeah.  That didn't happen.  I am considerably further than I was--I finally have over 50k words in my current draft, but I'm not close to finishing.

So, what am I doing?  Signing up for NaNoWriMo again this year, of course!  This year, I'm going into it with a slightly different perspective.

Nanowrimo is one of those funny experiences when, at the beginning, you feel like this:

I'm going to climb every mountain! Ford every stream! Follow every rainbow!  Write ALL the words!!
 Even though 50,000 words in a month is a pretty ridiculous goal.  But, sometimes ridiculous goals work out...

This statue of a human is soooooo cute! I bet if I sell my voice to the sea witch, I'll become human and wash up on the EXACT shore he's walking on right then and he'll fall in love with me even though I'm mute and smell like fish!
 But more often than not, they don't.

So rather than using 50,000 words in the month of November as my goal, I'm using it as one of many goals.  My ultimate top-tier goal, if you will.  But I'm also setting some smaller, more manageable goals that I think I'll be able to achieve, and I think Nanowrimo will help me do that.

November Goals (that I would really like to meet and think I can):

1) Write!  Even when things get busy, keep writing.  Don't lose hope!

2) Write at least 3 times a week.  Right now I have a consistent period of time blocked out every Thursday when I write.  But I'd like to add a block on Monday and a third block during the weekend.

And then, of course, there's the November Goal of my Dreams:

3) Write 50,000 words!  Finish my book!  Have it edited by Thanksgiving!  Query by Christmas!  Have an editor by New Year's!  Sign a book deal that makes me a BAJILLION dollars by Valentine's Day and I am suddenly a full time writer!

Yeah.  That's why it's good to start small. :)

Are any of you doing NaNo this year?  Or do you have any new writing goals you're trying to accomplish?


  1. I like these goals!!!! Hoping I can join with you!

  2. I am going to attempt it, but I don't know if I will have time. I am a strict goal setter though, the practice totally works!

  3. I'm doing it! I've been successful the past 2 years though this year I have a vacation right smack in the middle of the month (poor planning, I know). I still hope to finish before Thanksgiving though...

    Good luck!

  4. I'd like to participate, but I don't know how I'd be able to do it for the first 7 days, since I want to spend as much time with my boyfriend before he goes back to Colombia. I've always loved writing so it would be great to actually finish something I start and this will definitely give me that push.

  5. I'm doing it this year and I love these goals. I agree it is necessary to set goals (I had absolutely none last year and it was abysmal).

    I especially love your November goal of your dreams. That's a fantastic goal.

  6. Thanks for throwing a healthy set of realism on us writer folk (although, I have to say, my goals/dreams that won't be silenced are contained in #3). This is my first NaNo, and I think it's going to be the kick in the pants I need. I'm definitely taking advantage of outlining everything in October though. :) Should be fun!

  7. I'm doing NaNo again this year. Last year I pansted (as in, "did-everything-flying-around-by-the-seat-of-the-pants) a few other WriMos (yes, there are more) and failed. So what am I doing this year? Planning. Like mad. Because I think I'm a plotter who has been shying away from her destiny.

    I'm completely outlined, and at the moment I'm actually planning which scenes I'm going to write each day. Over-planning? We'll see on November 30th.

  8. @Frankie--You can do it!!

    @Alisia--You're right about the practice. Even if I don't hit 50k, I feel like being more structured & disciplined for the month is something that is helpful way past November.

    @TL--That's awesome that's you've done is 2 years in a row! I bet you can do it--I had vacation one year for the first 4 days in November, and I handwrote during that time.

    @Chey--It's important to have priorities. Even if you don't hit 50k (like I most likely won't :) it's always fun to try.

    @Cheree--Thanks! I'm trying to remind myself that it's okay to fail--Nanowrimo is supposed to create good stress, not bad stress.

    @Kristen--Haha, thanks! I definitely need it as much as anybody, though like you, I'm holding on to my dream :) I'm also outlining for the first time this year--hopefully it works!

    @Katharine--I think we might be in the same boat! I've always prided myself in my pantser-ness, but this year I'm outlining as well. I think it might be the secret to success. The great thing I'm finding about over-planning is that you can always through caution to the wind if you get a good groove going, but if you DON'T plan, then you have nothing to fall back when things get tough.

  9. I'm exactly where you are! Not as far along as I want to my on my WiP and I'm using NaNo as a stepping stone to make myself finish faster than I otherwise would.

    It's my first time.

    Wishing you lots of luck! And maybe a good stiff drink of whatever takes your fancy for fortification.


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