Writing goals and NaNoWriMo

As the days keep slipping by, I keep telling myself that I will soon be caught up enough with everything else that I will have time to focus on writing my novel.

But who am I kidding? Something always comes up. There is always something going on with the kids whether it is a weekend camp or something at their school. And then there is my birthday invitation business and handling the financial side of my husband’s growing law firm.

Yes, there is always something going on and unfortunately, it isn’t always writing. What I need to do (and I have said it before) is I need to set aside time to write. I need to block off time in my schedule to write instead of waiting for time to be open.

And I think I need to set the time as first thing in the morning so that other activities don’t keep encroaching on my time. Get my daily (yes, I am optimistic here that I can get uninterrupted time daily to write) writing done BEFORE I do everything else on my to do list.

I’ve tried this before and failed. I have tried writing goals, but those too didn’t seem to work for me.

I know some authors set a writing goal either per day or per week. Some choose to count the words they type while other may only look at how many pages they wrote.

The keys are to be specific and realistic. Don’t just say you want to write each day. Set yourself a goal of how many hours, words or pages. And be realistic with your goals. Nothing is more discouraging as never reaching your planned amount of writing because you were too ambitious when setting your goals. And don’t forget to reward yourself when you do reach your goals!

One thing that might help is to have a partner help keep you on track. I have never taken part in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) because it happens in November which is leading up to the holidays and always seems like a busy time of the year. But hey, aren’t they all?

But many author do take part in NaNoWriMo, whose goal is to write at 50,000-word rough draft of a novel. On their site, they have all sorts of ways for authors to track their progress and receive badges for participation. It seems like it could be an effective way to meet a goal with so many others supporting you.

Every year, I participate in the A-to-Z blogging challenge, but I find this easy as I spend the two month before the challenge, planning and writing my posts. I don’t know if the NaNoWriMo challenge would help me the same way with writing my novel.

I wouldn’t be doing it to win their prizes but more as a way to motivate myself to not be distracted by all those “other things” that keep getting in the way of writing. But I don’t tend to “free” write as their website suggests. I usually write and edit at the same time so that when I am done with my first draft there isn’t as much editing needed as there would be if I just wrote whatever popped into my mind.

But I am still thinking of trying the challenge this year as a means to set a writing goal and hopefully keep it. If I don’t meet the challenge, at least I will get something written.

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One thought on “Writing goals and NaNoWriMo

  1. Skye Hegyes says:

    I have a friend who keeps saying he wants to try NaNoWriMo, but he doesn’t write that much. I told him the goal wasn’t really to write 50K, but to write every day. He tends to write children’s storybooks, so we’re going to be writing together and setting different goals without actually participating in NaNoWriMo. I feel like as long as you’re writing, you’re fine.

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