It’s the last weekend of November, which means we are now down to the final days of National Novel Writing Month (otherwise best known as NaNoWriMo). I speculate over how many people took advantage of it this time around, due to the world still being infected by the pandemic and all. Those are numbers I’d be very interested in learning about.
Anyway, I’ve talked about NaNoWriMo a couple of times previously; the most recent time was just over a year ago, at the start of the 20th Annual NaNoWriMo. I shared how my thoughts about it have evolved, as well as what my mind has remained unchanged about. One of the aspects of it was how writers who I follow on social media have reinvented NaNoWriMo to make it their own, in efforts to accomplish their own writing goals. In other words, just because you don’t plan to write a full-length novel in one month doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of the month in another way.
That’s exactly what I’ve done this past month. I’ve been quarantining for about 8 1/2 months, and while I’ve been pushing myself to work on my novel, it hasn’t been easy with the pandemic still going on, the murders of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, the wildfires, and so on. Mentally, I haven’t been in the best place. But I knew I had to get back on it, and so as NaNoWriMo was approaching, I strategized the idea to use it to my advantage. The goal was simple: work on a little bit of my novel everyday. There was never a word count for me to reach, but I did tell myself to get at least one chapter done each week.
Now that we’re at the end of the month, I’m proud of the progress I’ve made with the novel in such a short amount of time. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to writing every single day out of circumstances that were ultimately inevitable. When I wasn’t working on the novel, I had my day job, I was stressing out over the election like everyone else during the first week of the month, and I’ve also been checking out the different films available for the 40th Hawai’i International Film Festival, as an all-access pass carrier. So while I didn’t write everyday, the bit that I did get done are making such a difference with what I have left to do.
This process doesn’t stop once I flip my calendar for the final time in this despicable year. Now that I have this routine established, the goal now is to keep it going as much as possible until this draft is, at long last, completed. NaNoWriMo helped me make this push to get back on the horse, and for that, for the first time ever, I’m truly grateful for its existence.
Make NaNoWriMo your own. You don’t have to use it to write a whole novel in one go. Use it to adhere to the writing goals you already have set for yourself. I can now officially attest to the benefits of it. It also should go without saying that you don’t have to wait for NaNoWriMo, let alone a global pandemic for that matter, to tackle your writing goals. Anytime is the right time, so just do it!
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