Ten is the magic number.
Ten minutes of writing upon waking.
Ten minutes of exercise to start the day.
Ten minutes of meditation.
Ten minutes of any large or daunting household task – made smaller by chipping away at it.
Ten minutes of reading before bed.
Ten might be a small number but this small number is helping me be more productive. It’s helping me form good habits, the kind of habits that will help me get on. I want to be a writer but I wasn’t writing. I want to lose weight but I wasn’t exercising. I want to keep my new house tidy – this will be the hardest one.
It’s a start. I will build on this but in the meantime, ten minutes of effort goes a long way.
For the first time, I decided to take part in NaNoWriMo. For anyone who doesn’t know what NaNoWriMo is, it is National Novel Writing Month and it has taken place every November since 1999. The aim is to write 50,000 words in a month and then the editing can follow at your leisure in December or whenever. I have flirted with the idea of writing a novel before but I haven’t made it past the planning stage. Some of my previous planning is still saved and I may revisit for a future novel or novels but in the meantime, I thought I would take up the challenge of just writing and getting my first novel underway.
Three weeks into the challenge and I have written just short of 10,000 words. It works out at an average of 500 words a day. While I could see this as a failure because I am 9 days and 40,000 words away from the target, I see it as a success.
Let me explain why.
I enjoy writing but I find that life often gets in the way. I know real writers are supposed to find their way around obstacles but sometimes it just isn’t possible. I don’t want to make excuses but for a variety of reasons my writing was sporadic. To have written a few hundred words most days (I have written for 19 days out of 21) is a success. It is a success because I have been writing regularly. I have been writing regularly and enjoying it. And, because I am writing most days, I know where I am going with the story. I won’t have to remind myself at a later date what I had previously written. My plot and characters will stay with me on a daily basis until the story is told in full.
I had not previously achieved this without the goal of NaNoWriMo.
With 9 days to go, I don’t expect to have 50,000 words written but what I do expect is to have a fully formed skeleton; the skeleton being the plot outline. I can then work on putting flesh on the bones.
I’m happy with my progress on my practice novel. I’m glad I took up the challenge and I would do it again.
I would love to hear about other people’s experiences in NaNoWriMo.
Maybe you’re just like me, a newbie to novel-writing. Maybe you find it easy to knock out 50,000 words.
Feel free to leave a comment below.