We haven’t finished NaNoWriMo yet, and I don’t want to be cocky, but I’m planning to hit the 50,000 word count. Of course I am; everyone who signs up to write a novel in November is planning to finish, aren’t they? But we’re halfway through the month and I am struggling – big time!
Committing yourself to writing almost 2000 words per day is tough. I may have started off the month a little cocky, easily exceeding daily word counts and following my outline. Then, things started to get a little rocky. I’ve had baby birthday celebrations, home renovations, unforeseen duties and a very busy period at work.
But I’m trying my best to follow through because the whole reason I signed up to participate in NaNoWriMo was to finish a novel, which is something I had so far failed to do this year. I’ve finished one book, yes, but it has taken me years because apparently I have a problem with following through.
I love books that dissect human personalities and behaviours. One of my favourite books is Gretchen Rubin’s The Four Tendencies. It taught me a lot about myself but also put a name around some of the traits i knew I possessed. You can take the quiz here if you’re interested to find out your tendency.
I am an obliger in the most pure form. I find it very hard to meet goals that I’ve made for myself. I’m okay with letting myself down. I’ve been doing it my whole life. I tend to put other people’s needs first and shove mine back. At work, I’m highly reliable because if the expectation is coming from an external source, I will do everything I can to meet it.
After reading this book, I realised that I’m much more likely to succeed if I’m accountable to other people. This is the reason that I can excel unsupervised in my day job, because I know my boss will expect a result, and the very same reason that I am yet to finish a novel.
I was able to finish my book by telling my husband what my goals were, and then I went a step further and called a meeting with him at the start of every month to note these goals on the calendar. I even write them with a check box next to them so that at the end of the month we can highlight them with a satisfying swish.
If you’re really passionate about something, you will make time to do it. That may be true. I’ve often made time for myself to write because I’ve wanted to. But if you’re serious about finishing something, you need measures that make you accountable. If my boring job has taught me anything, it’s that each initiative should have a measure of success. For my novel writing escapades, actually finishing something needs to be the first measure.
NaNoWriMo is the perfect opportunity to be held accountable by my writing buddies and Twitter friends, and hit a goal for the entire year by finishing a novel.
Hopefully, by polishing off one novel (in word count, not necessarily quality), it will spur me on to finish the other ones that I’ve started.
Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? How are you going with it?