As of today, 10 days into NaNoWriMo, I have officially “won.” I wrote my fifty thousandth word. Then I dropped my mic and moonwalked out. Nothing else to see here. No more writing to do this month. I’m DONE.
Except, not really. When I posted on Facebook and Twitter about my accomplishment (because, let’s face it, I’m telling everyone about that), the question I got a few times was, “So, are you done then, or will you keep writing this month?”
Interesting question. Now, if I was just doing NaNoWriMo to prove I could write 50K in a month, well, mission more than accomplished. I can ride off into the sunset of a very busy November and not open a Word document again.
But, the thing is, it was never just my goal to reach 50K. Of course, I wanted to do it, to prove to myself that I could. Last time I did Nano, it took me the entire month down to the last minute, and then three years after that to finish the novel. My writing habits have vastly improved since then, and I think my decisiveness in life has helped me to become more bold and confident in my writing. However, as much as my habits have improved, I still lack the focus to write every day. And that was my main goal for this month. So I actually still have 21 days to reach my goal, and it’s not possible to “finish” early.
I love Nano, but I also think in some ways it can create negativity. I think it can cause people to get super competitive, or get down on themselves if they don’t reach their goal or even if they don’t write as many words or as fast as others. I love sharing my triumphs on Twitter, but at the same time I’ve felt like I shouldn’t because it might make others feel bad.
Here’s what I say. As long as you’re writing, you have no reason to feel bad. As long as you’re putting time into your craft, you shouldn’t feel bad. If you wouldn’t feel bad about what you’ve done if you weren’t comparing yourself to anyone else, you shouldn’t feel bad. As always, we are our biggest critics.
I have more goals for this month. I want to finish my novel this week, and then finish my other WIP before the end of November. In December, I want to polish my query letter for Above Eden and research agents before sending out new queries in January. And after the new year, I have at least two solid projects to choose from, and more will come.
Just because I reach one goal doesn’t mean I quit. Just because others get more done than I do doesn’t mean I quit. My biggest competition is myself, and I’m up for the challenge.