Saturday, January 25, 2014

Goals and Accountability: Where did NaNo Go?


I have a gorgeous calendar by my computer. Okay, that's misleading. It typically sit under my netbook and is more than many moons outdated. Anyway, it's open to November and has word counts penciled in on it, a relic from a year I almost didn't finish NaNoWriMo, and yes, before you say anything, I do need to clean my desk more often. I know that it is January and NaNo is long over, but let's face it, I'm not done. Sure, I, like you, hit my goal of fifty thousand words, and then some, but that doesn't mean I'm done. Fifty thousand is a good starting point, but for my emotionally-fragile family drama, but before I start shopping it out to agents, it really needs to put on about thirty thousand meaningful words. 
Let's have a moment of math, shall we? 
80,000 - 54,376 = 25,624 words to go. 

Time to get writing!


That's not so bad, really. If I hit they keyboard like it's November, I'm looking at another two weeks of writing. Six weeks of writing? No big. However, that's when the real work starts. The editing. 

Have you already hit the word count zone for the novel you're writing? Yes, there really are word count guidelines for different genres. Then you still need to be editing with the rest of us, and so it's time to set some goals.

It is not November. Try however I might, I can't make it be November now. I can't summon the collective energy of millions of writers struggling to hit their daily word counts, and I can't convince myself I'm racing against a friend's growing word count chart, especially when editing isn't as simply quantifiable as a word count. As a result, it is time to be honest about what kinds of measurable progress I can aim for. 

Word Count

Goal 1: 500 words a day. I'm not going to finish this as quickly as I started it, so the imaginary six weeks is right out. At 500 words a day I have another month and a half ahead of me, and that's manageable. 

Accountability tool: I'm replacing the outdated calendar with a new one to pencil in my word counts. If it's a number I can see with my eyes even when I' not touching a device, I'm far more apt to keep up with it. I keep it simple by updating word counts at bedtime so I don't have a string of numbers confusing me later.

Editing

Goal 1: Read through and correct all glaring errors. There's always a lot more to editing than correcting errors, but it's somewhere to start.

As I get back into the process of writing every day, I'll write about more of my little goals on the way to actually finishing my novel. With any luck, all of us will be finished before November rolls back around.

0 reflections: