The NaNoWriMo Challenge

It’s November 1st, the start of NaNoWriMo. For those of you who may not know what this is, I’ll explain. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. The goal of National Novel Writing Month is to complete a project—most often a novel—and use the rest of the time until next November to edit and polish up the completed project. Pledging to write a novel in a month sounds a little crazy, so many writers join groups that are intended to help encourage each other to reach the finish line. Last year I decided to give this a shot, and it ended a whole two weeks later when I stopped writing completely. When I started, I planned to finish the first book in the Warriors of Greecium series. When I found myself unable to write because of the pressure, I thought I was a failure as a writer. However, I soon found a good handful of writers who had joined the challenge and had given up just like I did. Together we talked about how tough the challenge was, and how it’s perfectly fine that we couldn’t complete it. In this little group of defeated writers, we tried to remind each other how important it is that we don’t give up on writing all together because we didn’t succeed in the challenge.

So, today, I find myself reading many posts from writers about NaNoWriMo. Many of them are frantic because they don’t know what project to work on, or whether they want to do the challenge in the first place. A few of the posts are optimistic writers looking forward to completing a project they’ve been putting off or starting a new project they’ve been looking forward to. While reading these posts, I considered joining the challenge. I’ve decided that I will not join NaNoWriMo because I’m struggling to write currently, and I don’t want to put a sour taste in my mouth for writing. I know that I’m not currently able to push myself to write a novel in a month and trying to do so will have a huge negative impact on my view of writing. I’m trying to focus on making writing enjoyable. I’m trying to get back into writing after a few days of not being able to do so. Not participating in NaNoWriMo is for my own good this year, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Instead, I’m going to use the spirit of NaNoWriMo to help me get back into the habit of writing every day. My goal is going to be writing one-hundred words a day, minimum. That sounds very low, and it’s supposed to be low. Right now, my focus is getting back in the habit of writing every day. Having a low goal like this means I’ll have an easier time reaching the goal on the days when writing seems impossible, and it will help boost my sense of achievement each day I hit my goal. It’s important to go easy on yourself when trying to make a new habit or get back into a habit. Starting off small will make it easier to maintain the habit and help you to believe in yourself.

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