Yeah, 1667 Is The Monkey On Your Back
I sat down to write my annual NANOWRIMO post. I figured I’d lament on how hard it was going to be for me this year, how I didn’t know if I could do it, but I would try, et cetera, ad nauseam. But no one wants to hear me belly ache about how I can’t get anything done. I don’t want to hear myself belly ache about not getting anything done.
NANOWRIMO isn’t about wallowing in self-pity and self-doubt. Any post I write about it should serve the greater goal of the NANOWRIMO excercise: Getting writers to write. In 2012, I wrote one of my favorite posts ever. It was a quick write up about the consequences of night writing every day. I think its serves the right purpose today. I’ve reposted a portion of it below. Please read and enjoy and I’ll be back at the end with some other updates.
As a number by itself, it doesn’t represent a whole lot. Sure, at one point $1667 could buy you a new car. Now it would buy you a car that you’d want to trade in on a new car. 1667 wasn’t even a noteworthy year, as far as history is concerned. John Milton sold the copyright to Paradise Lost. Pope Clement IX succeeds Pope Alexander VII, becoming the 238th pope.
Not exactly earth shattering events.
However, for writers, 1667 will define the month of November for writers everywhere. NaNoWriMo kicks off less than 12 hours from now. And 1667 is the number of words of fiction that need to be written to meet the goal of 50,000 by the end of the month.
It’s an exercise with a goal in mind; You want to be a writer? You need to get your butt in the chair and hands working the keyboard everyday. Everyday!
Just to put this into perspective; If you miss one day, 1667 becomes 1724. No big deal, right? Miss two days, 1785. It’s ok, you’re good. Now let’s say you skip a week. That manageable 1667 words per day is now 2273. 2000 words per day is Stephen King’s daily goal, according to On Writing. So if you get started a week late, you would have to out-pace Stephen fricking King to meet the goal of 50,000 words for the month.
1667 is the Monkey on your back this month. Right now, that monkey and I have an understanding. I write those words and it won’t intrude on the creative energy I need for write the novel. I’m holding up my end of the bargain. There’s a new progress bar on the left side of the page that will track my progress.
I’m off to my best start yet. I write in two sessions daily: First during my lunch hour at one job, second after I get home from my second job (usually between 9 and 10 pm) and I keep going until I can’t go anymore. The weekends are my bread and butter. My strategy is to build a buffer on the weekends and keep myself above water during the week.
Since the first was on Sunday, I only got one day to build up a buffer, but I was able to carry it through to today.
I tweeted about this, but I think its worth mentioning again. I started tracking my productivity on a spreadsheet and all be damned if it hasn’t worked wonders for my motivation. I got a preformatted 2015 word tracker from Svenja Gorsen’s website and I can’t believe I haven’t done this sooner. The conditional formatting generates a few statistics about my productivity that make me want to set other goals besides a minimum word count per day. It keeps me engaged in the process by allowing me to “see” my progress and know that I really am getting somewhere.
If you’re struggling to get started, give the spreadsheet a try. Butt in chair and hands on keyboard EVERYDAY. Don’t let the monkey on your back turn into a 500 pound gorilla.