As days in October dwindled, I became anxious knowing I wasn’t doing the NanoWrimo challenge for the first time in four years. It was a sad realization, but I had a good reason for not doing it – I was working on the third draft of my latest novel ‘Budding Iris’ (first draft completed NanoWrimo 2015).
Instead of writing 1,667 new words a day, I set a time goal (2-3 hours/day) – revising, rewriting, rethinking – ending up with 25 ‘clean-ish’ chapters. As I polished my draft, I adopted a resolve along with a goal: produce a proof of my book by the end of 2016 (less than 30 days to go!)
I now understand how to have a ‘deadline mindset’ without getting overwhelmed – the sentiment “I’ll get it done, eventually” or “It’s not quite ready” doesn’t work for me anymore. No longer allowing the work to stew for an indeterminate amount of time – I drove myself as if I were trying to complete the 50,000 word goal (sometimes it’s important to trick yourself into finishing what you start.)
Inspiring emails from the Office of Letters and Light never arrived, and the vicarious bond with other writers (knowing that thousands of people were going through the same semi-torturous task) never happened.
Working alone wasn’t as fun, but I will maintain the ‘2-3 hours/day’ approach as I move forward with my writing. Since I can only encourage myself to a limited level, I will most likely participate in NanoWrimo next year.