I don’t want to take up all of your time. And you might notice that I’m posting late this week. That’s because just like the other NaNo participants, I’m focused on writing today. I won’t take much of your time.
So, a bunch of people start NaNo because they want to try their hand at the writing process. After day one, especially if a bunch of things went wrong, it’s easy to get derailed. A bad start can kill your motivation, possibly making you think that this just isn’t your year. Wearing yourself out the first day might make it hard to move on. But writing is a habit.
If you dream of being a writer, then one book, and especially one November, isn’t enough to make that happen. To me, NaNo is more about starting to form a habit than it is about daily word count. Yes, I just updated my word count at 10,000, but that isn’t the norm for most. The key is, whether you meet your goal tonight or not, it doesn’t matter. If you got words down, then you succeeded. The question is if you can keep putting words down everyday.
At the end of the month, or however long it takes you to complete your draft, there will be more work to do. There is editing and proofing, writing a query or book proposal, submission, waiting, etc. And if you really want to start an author career, you will also need to start building an audience of readers, and start working on your next book, which will mean more consecutive days of adding a little at a time until that one is done.
The process is repetitive, so the habits you are forming right now are the most important part, not the word count. Don’t stop when you hit 1700 if you still feel like writing more, and don’t give up if you are only getting 200 per day. Just keep writing every day. Plan on keeping the same schedule after November. Be ready to use that time to brainstorm or draft the next story, or edit the current one.
It takes a couple of months to form a habit. If you are in NaNo to become a writer, and you are serious about that passion, then get one month of daily writing under your belt, and keep on to the end of the year, writing every single day. Even if it’s a poem. Even if it’s only one sentence. Even if you can only guarantee a half hour each day. Keep writing. That’s what it takes, and that’s what NaNo should help you to accomplish this month. Next month, consider joining another accountability group, like #DecWritingChallenge. I also recently found an accountability thread on the AW forums, which is a perfect place to interact with other authors directly.
Don’t give up. Don’t let word counts discourage you. Just, keep, writing.