I have a secret, guys.
After grant season, I am WAY behind on…well, literally everything.
There was so much work in Aug/Sept, that I had no time to do much else, and unfortunately, my dedicated writing time was one of the first casualties.
The even bigger issue now is that one month after my crazy period ended, I’m still not writing.
I lost the habit.
Story of life, right? Some habits are just SO HARD to develop and SO EASY to lose…
Writing is one of those necessities of academic life, yet it rarely seems like the most pressing business. So its very easy to lose the habit of writing and, at least for me, very hard to pick back up again.
So, I have another secret.
I’ve always wanted to publish a novel.
Reading is a huge passion of mine, and I love the thought of putting in the time, energy, and brain power to get a novel of my own into print. With grad school, post doc, and now establishing a freelance business, its been hard to find the needed time to pursue this someday goal.
However, this old dream of mine has been niggling at the back of my mind this past month, creeping more and more into my thoughts as October progresses. I get that itch as we approach that time of the year that is, for a (budding) novelist, the peak of novel writing time.
NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month.
For those crazy enough to attempt it, November becomes an entire month dedicated to getting a draft of a novel (50,000 words) completed in exactly 30 days. It comes with daily emails, online and offline support groups and write-ins, online progress trackers that continuously track your progress, and any amount of support you might need to sit down and write.
Through the business of an academic life, I’ve only actually completed (i.e., wrote 50K words) one NaNo, but I still try every year to jump on that horse and write a first draft.
That is because regardless of whether I complete the word challenge each year, NaNo has some crazy benefits for me:
- It establishes a DAILY habit of writing that, after 30 days, is really solid.
- Reconnects me with both my passion for writing and my discipline for getting it done.
- Gets me up in the mornings. While in the past month, I’ve justified skipping morning wake-up writing sessions, my desire to reach 50,000 words absolutely gets me out of bed in November.
- Even if I don’t write all 50,000 words, I write a lot of words. And even 25,000 words at the end of November is 25,000 that I didn’t have before!
Unfortunately, I decided this year that I won’t be participating in NaNoWriMo…
…because I don’t have the time and energy to invest into a novel right now. It would definitely take time away from many other things I’d rather (or, more likely, should) be doing.
But also thought it would be a shame to miss such a great opportunity when I feel that motivation returning.
So instead, I’m going NaNo-rogue…
…by spending November re-establishing my writing habit and getting back on track for where I want to be in all of my writing projects.
I plan on working just as hard this year to reach that 50,000 word mark, but my “finished product” is going to look a bit different in that it will be composed of:
- New blog posts (yay!)
- A finished draft of a review I’ve been putting off for a year
- Some “difficult” emails I’ve been procrastinating writing for some time
- Book chapters for a future book on manuscript writing
My buddy is still working on a novel in the traditional NaNo sense, but that’s okay – we are still both striving for the same word count and will be holding each other accountable.
In fact, we have a meeting this week to get together while its still October to plan our initial “attack” so when the morning of Nov. 1 rolls around, we are off to the races.
I am so excited that I decided to do Nano.
That’s going to last exactly 3 days before I suddenly find myself strongly regretting it, but that’s okay. That it IS tough is part of the difficulty in establishing a habit.
But I also know that if I am ever going to get my writing habit back to where I want it, November is my best shot.
I love the atmosphere of NaNo.
I love that thousands around the globe are also spending every single day of their November striving for 1,667 words.
I love the progress tracker that keeps me motivated.
I love the daily habit that I develop (that I can later devote to conquering anything!)
I love the Saturday afternoon write-ins at the local English book store.
I love the near-daily emails designed to pump you up and provide helpful hints and strategies.
I love that I have, just thinking about it, rekindled an excitement for writing. And I know it will much stronger by the end of the month.
And, most importantly for me, I love that at the end of November, I am back to calling myself a writer, have thousands of new, beautiful words written, and have an established daily habit of writing.
So are you behind in your writing goals for the year?
OR, better yet, do you want to START a writing habit that you’ll stick to?
Why not join me as a NaNoWriMo rebel and use the atmosphere of this month to help you, too, find your writing mojo?
You can find everything you need here: https://www.nanowrimo.org/
Set up your account, declare your writing project, and use the tools they have to search for local in-person or online meetups (if that’s your jam), find friends, and generally become excited for a month of writing!
Don’t forget to also add me as a writing buddy to track my progress and keep me honest: Skeeter2713
Will you be writing with me?
If so, what do you hope to get written this month?
What are your non-word-count-related goals?