Wednesday, November 18, 2015

On the awesomeness of small writing goals: a NaNoWriMo heresy

So, in this month of NaNoWriMo (which has now surpassed Thanksgiving as November's premier event), I offer this totally non-NaNo advice:

Set small goals.

If 1,700 words a day, or 1,000, or 500, or any damn number sounds like way too much, I say, how about one page a day? That's what I've been doing for the past few months, and it almost always works. Some days I do 2-3 pages, and some days, dammit, I still don't do any. But I'm finding this the best and only way to work right now, with my brain and my time as fragmented as they seem to be. It's pretty easy to squeeze a page, or half a page, in between conference calls. And instead of looking at word counts, I'm concentrating on the digital ink spreading further down on the page, which just feels more satisfying.

I read somewhere recently that another writer had set a goal of three sentences a day. That's great. Or do twenty minutes a day, even if you spend that whole time staring the page and not writing a word (I bet you can't keep from writing something, though).

The point is, I think most writers need different writing strategies at different times, depending upon external and internal circumstances. Yes, you need to move forward, but the pace is far less important than the movement itself.