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December Do-Over

All right December; let?s do this.

Every November I commit to writing 50,000 words for National Novel Writing Month. I’ve done this for four years in a row, and have won (successfully completed 50,000 words) two of the four times.

Of the two winning times, one went on to be a published book of short stories. The other was just jibber jabber I wasn?t proud of. In order to win, you need to write at least 1,667 words every single day for 30 days.

No days off. No weekends. No excuses.

If you get into a rhythm and routine, this is achievable.

The problem is that it?s NOVEL writing month. So ideally you should be writing words in a novel. I normally get off to a good start but then will have a day or two where I just don?t know what to write, or I don?t know where I want my story to go? or worse, I don?t like what I’ve already written.

That?s when I want to quit.

When I fall behind and feel too defeated to catch up. And you can?t start over because that puts you further behind. So if you don?t like what you?ve done so far, there?s no hope.

If you don?t care that you don?t like what you?ve written, so be it. Good for you. Keep going. You can reread your junk in December and make all the appropriate fixes then.

But I quit. I came close to doing a half-NaNo at just over 22,000 words. But I’d fallen so far behind I just stopped writing and started watching TV instead.

December hits and I feel like a failure. It?s one thing to give it your all and still not complete the challenge, because at least you can say you tried. But after about two and a half weeks, I didn?t even try.

I?m a failure and a quitter. I suck.

So this month is December Do-Over. I challenged a friend, who had the same struggles, to do a write-a-thon with me this month. Let?s set the bar lower though.

Instead of writing 1,667 words per day, seven days per week, we?re going to aim to write 1,000 words per day, five days per week. If we write more than that, great, but tomorrow is a new day and a new start.

This means that if I write 2,000 words today, I’m not off the hook for writing tomorrow, but if something comes up today and I write zero words, I can use my weekend to catch up.

The other stipulation we made to the original NaNo rules is that we can write anything.

Today I feel like writing a blog post, tomorrow a journal entry. Maybe the next three days I?ll work on a book, but come next week I?ll hate it and want to start over. Who cares? Start over then. This time it?s not about writing one novel, but just the exercise of writing itself.

This is important and the step I fail to remember come November every year.

If I can get into this habit of writing a thousand words every weekday, then come January, I?ll do it again. And February, again. Maybe I?ll put an outline together of a book and then work towards that. If I can do this simple thing each day, then maybe next November I won?t be such a failure? or a quitter.

I?ll be a doer. I?ll be a succeeder.

And I will be proud.

Let?s see how December goes, shall we?


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  1. So this morning I saw this in my inbox, and thought your site had been hacked, given it’s been, what – a year since your last post? 🙂

    Great to see you relieve the stress of NaNoWrMo and simply write for the love of it. It can only benefit you in the long run – have at it!

    • Lol clearly I don’t check emails very often either – I only saw this comment now!

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