I always get discouraged during the month of November. I’ve been a chronic NaNo loser. I always feel a tremendous amount of angst about this, as if finishing those 50K words in one month somehow determined my proficiency as a writer.
Recently, someone I know said something like this: “I don’t know why everyone bitches about NaNo. We’re writers. It’s what we do. We should be cranking out at least 50,000 words in a month, every month, or the writing is pointless. You can’t be a successful writer without NaNo output every month.”
This statement has haunted me since.
I do not put out 50,000 words in a month. My average goal is 30,000-35,000 GOOD words in a month, along with revisions, which sometimes means my output is less because I delete more words than I write in any given day. Sometimes I drop below that number, depending on the month, but rarely ever go above it. I usually write 1000 words each weekday, sometimes more. I usually do not have the opportunity to write on weekends, because of family obligations. I also have to find time for planning my plot, outlining, research, blogging, and reading.
In the month of November, not including weekends, I would have a potential 23 days to write. This could equate to, if I bust my behind, 34,5000 words. My children are off school a total of four days, which changes my potential number of days to 19. I will have guests in my house twice this month, so that will subtract another, let’s estimate three days from that tally, bringing it down to 16, which is 24,000 words if I can keep up my pace. I would estimate I could get more written because I will be able to write on the days my kids are off school, at least for a little while, and my husband is really good about helping me find time if I’m struggling. Given this, let’s estimate 30,000 words for November, which is just over half of what’s required to “win” NaoNoWri Mo. And this is pretty much if I do nothing but write during the time set aside for me to work.
This is all assuming, of course, that I don’t have any kind of writer’s block or need to rip out a significant portion of my manuscript (which has only happened to me once, and that completed novel is sitting under my desk awaiting a full rewrite). I’m also assuming that my kids don’t get sick, that the dogs stay healthy and I can avoid any and all forms of housework or other responsibilities except those I’ve mentioned here.
December will be worse.
What am I getting at ?
I do not have NaNo output every month. Does this mean I cannot be a successful writer? I hope not. I may never write more than one book per year. Does that mean I should stop writing? I don’t think so.