National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is an exercise that comes around every November, where participants pledge to themselves and each other that they will aim to write a novel of 50,000 words or more in 30 days.
It works out to 1,666 words per day, which does not sound daunting until it looms like a target in the distance. But every year thousands of folks discover that if they set their minds to it, they can produce 1,666 words a day and eventually 50,000 words in a month.
And what’s next? (That Magical Question)
Well, Steven Pressfield likes to tell the story of how he finished his first novel at last, and he went running to celebrate with his mentor, whose reaction was along the lines of “Good for you! Start on the next one today.”
The mentor is right. The point of NaNoWriMo is to prove you can do it, if not in 30 days, then eventually. For some, I suppose, that’s the whole point. But for the people who want to write, the proof is simply the first step — and “what’s next” is realizing that it’s a sustainable process.
Why wait until November to start writing a 50,000-word novel in 30 days? Why wait until the first of any month? You can start now.
This is the time of year that people talk about setting goals and resolutions. But why set goals based on the calendar? What is so magical about doing something by Nov. 30 or Dec. 31, or starting on Nov. 1 or Jan. 1?
You can start today, right this minute, and you can finish by Jan. 28 or May 4 or whenever.
Start when you’re ready. Set a deadline, but finish when you’re done — maybe that’ll be a month before deadline (better) or a month after (not as good, but still finished).
Resolve to do it now, not “in the new year.” If it’s worth doing then, it’s worth doing asap.