About this time each Nano it suddenly occurs to me that the month is almost over. How can twenty three days pass so quickly? I could easily slip into a period of morbid reflection regarding the lost opportunities. I could berate myself saying, “so you were sick, you still could have written more than 181 words that day.”
But what good would that do? My purpose in participating in Nano is not simply words. It is a challenge I place before myself annually—a challenge to see how much I want to become a writer. That I press on and sometimes go with the flow shows that I am no longer idealizing the writing life nor am I so obsessed with simply adding words that I kick into my competitive mode and ignore almost everything else in life.
I look instead at what I have done this year. During the month I showed myself I can engage the creative writing process while sitting in a jostling commuter train for two hours a day. Even if that was all the writing I did during a year I’d complete two or three novels a year. You can do the math a thousand words a day is five thousand words a week. If I do that forty eight weeks out of the year I would write 240,000 words a year. If a novel is 75,000 words that’s 3.2 novels a year. That’s a lot of writing. Writing time I did not have while driving for my commute.
Another discovery I found as I didn’t focus merely on the words this year is I could engage the daily writing prompts and find them helpful. What an added challenge to incorporate these prompts as seamlessly as possible into my story. I’ve had to tap into creativity I didn’t realize I had and now I feel good about the effort and how these prompts have added to my story.
With these realizations I see another benefit of this year. Since I have not gone overboard this year (yes I am now at a total of 64,000 words I have not gone overboard as in the years where my goal was to break 150,000 words. I’ve been more relaxed and the writing has actually been easier as I have focused on the story more and the word count less. I anticipate that the big letdown I’ve experience the last few years when I haven’t wanted to write or edit for months after November will not happen this year.
I’ll actually be ready to continue to engage my story, which I may still need to finish after the month is over. In previous years my involvement in Nano has resulted in a lack of motivation to write. I needed the time to recuperate. (The first year I completed Nano with 150,000 words my hands hurt for a week.) The ultimate purpose of my involvement with Nano is to increase my desire to cultivate a writing life not diminish it.
Thank you Nano 2013 for showing me a better way to write. Thank you employer for forcing me to make choices and giving me a place to write free from the distractions of my daily life.