Nocturnal Lives

Musings from the mind of Amanda S. Green – Mother, writer, and possessed by cats

Accountability

This could easily become a political post but, since I am already late getting to work this morning, I’m going to limit it to writing. As I posted yesterday, NaNoWriMo is upon us. It is a great way to hold yourself to some level of accountability in your writing — not so much in quality but in quantity. If you participate in the “official” NaNo, you are pledging to do your best to write 50,000 words in 30 days. You can log into your NaNo account and update your word count daily or as you want. It will show you not only how many words you’ve written, but how many you have left to meet your goal, your average word count per day, etc. It is a tool and should be looked at as such and nothing more.

That’s important because there are a lot of folks out there who flinch and shy away when they see the 50k word requirement. But here’s the deal. It isn’t set it stone. Just like New Year’s resolutions, it is something to shoot for. No one is going to hit your knuckles with a ruler if you don’t make the goal. It is nothing more than a tool to be used to help each of us establish a writing habit, one we can continue after November ends.

But, not everyone thinks they can meet the goal. Some folks, as I said, shy away when they see the number of words. Others know they are slow writers — and there is nothing wrong with that. I’ve said before and will say it again, there is no one right way write. Everyone’s process is different.

That doesn’t mean you can’t do NaNo. You can still sign up. You can use their tools, both in tracking your word count and in finding inspiration. Or you can do your own version of NaNo and set your own goals. The key is to set a goal and try to meet it. It doesn’t matter if it is 5k words or more or less. The goal is to write.

I honestly had no intention of doing NaNo this year. Then, as I said yesterday, I had a conversation with a friend and we decided to hold one another accountable for the next six months or so. Our goal? To publish a new piece every month. It can be a short story or novella or novel. Me? I know I can’t do a new novel a month. But I can put out a short story or novella on those months I’m not publishing a novel. Better yet, those don’t take as much time to write and can be done while watching football or — gag — Survivor with my mother. So I give up some time gaming during the evenings. That’s all right.

All that led to me deciding to go ahead and do NaNo. It is another way to hold myself accountable. But, because I have that dreaded word counter staring me in the face, I have to fight my own tendency to shy away. I’ll still be here blogging. I’ll update my NaNo count if not daily at least several times a week.

I will, hopefully, not only hold myself accountable but will meet the 50k word goal.

Now it’s time to make another cup of coffee and get to work. Oh, and the word count for yesterday was 4,007 words, not counting the blog post. If I count that, I did over 5,400 words. Hopefully, I can keep that up because I know there are going to be days this month when I won’t get to write. NaNo falling in November, with its Thanksgiving holiday, always messes me up. I just have to figure out how not to let my count diminish too much during the last half of the month. That is where I have to maintain my accountability.

Fingers crossed I manage to do so.

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4 Comments

  1. Since I won’t be tracking words, but time with Butt In Chair, I’ll have to create a tracking sheet. Now to figure out how to separate time writing from time chasing research rabbits. (close cousin to the plot bunny, but more elusive.)

  2. Gina Marie

    I tried NaNoWriMo last year. I managed 15k words in three days and then hit the wall. I really needed that 15k but I needed other things as well, and the dry spell kiboshed the whole thing, I’m a pantser and typically have three or four irons in the fire at a time; I went back to a 1000 words a day in December and decided to forget I ever tried to write to a schedule (I’m retired…not only don’t I have any more TGIF’s, Monday is no longer a day I dread). I have to say that the last month or so is something I never have to repeat. Usually I am a fountain of story ideas, but lately not so much. Actually lately, I’m dry. I sure hope this election gets done.

    • I know that feeling of the well being dry. When that happens, I’ve learned the worst thing I can do is try to force it. That’s when I go back to old school, pen and paper, and simply free write, letting my brain go where it wants. Usually, it only takes a few days or a week or two to get the muse reinvigorated. Hope you break through the wall soon.

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