Thursday, November 2, 2023

No books, just words

Despite having a long list of books available at the library right now, I am holding off borrowing any this month. Instead, I am focusing on writing.

In the last few months I've reached 50,000 words in my current manuscript. I'm aiming for a total around 70,000. That goal has always been sort of abstract, fully missing the T in SMART. I've been taking my time and writing a few times a week, enjoying the process without worrying too much about the destination.

It's been a long time since I've made this much progress on a novel!

I'm not sure what happened, but in the last week of October I started thinking about NaNoWriMo and how it might be a good opportunity to set a goal to finish this draft by November 30.

When this idea came to me, my initial reaction was resistance. I kind of don't want to finish this novel. I'm enjoying the process of writing it; it's been so long since I've written habitually like I am right now, and I'd hate to lose that momentum when the book is done! I also always tend to flame out and give up around the 2/3 mark, so I am definitely in the territory of facing my usual wall.

On the other hand, I set a goal to finish this draft and who knows what doing that will ignite in me? I may suddenly feel excited to dive back into other old projects, or start something fresh.

During NaNoWriMo, participants are supposed to write a 50,000 word novel start to finish, but you can join in an unofficial capacity and set your own word count goal. My goal of finishing my novel would require me to write about 1,000 words a day – 7,000 words a week – give or take.

My cheer squad/task master/worst distraction

With half marathon training a top priority right now, plus my day job, I don't think this is necessarily an easy undertaking...but it's also not impossible. 1,000 words takes me 60-90 minutes, depending on how focused I am and how easily the ideas are coming. Most people participating in NaNoWriMo are writing 1,666 words a day –  nearly 12,000 words a week!

Anyway. I went back and forth on this, but in the end I decided to give it a shot. It may be the motivation I need to actually push through my fear and finish this draft. And participating, even unofficially, gives me the opportunity to take advantage of the write-ins and meetups hosted for NaNoWriMo, so I'll get to meet some fellow writers, too.

When I first heard of NaNoWriMo, this cute and handy dashboard didn't even exist!

Hopefully by the end of this month, I have a finished manuscript for the first time in...well, in way, way too long. And when I do, I'm going to indulge myself in a NaNoWriMo Winner shirt or mug, because shopping always motivates me.

Wish me luck!



  1. Good luck Ali!

    I did NaBloPo last year - write a blog post every day in November - and it was very rewarding. This year I knew I had too much going on so I'm skipping out (but selfishly enjoying the posts from everyone else who is doing it). I do admit it's a great push to get things done.

    1. Thank you!! I had no idea NaBloPo was a thing, that's fun! I honestly need to get back into reading blog posts again. I miss them.