This question bares a little explanation, though not too much. I’m not going to go off on another word spree here where I create a novella out of a blog post. Thing is, I love the idea of doing National Write a Novel Month. Being able to sit down and crank out fifty thousand words sounds like a lot of fun. Lots of other authors like to set aside the month of November and have a good time with it.
I’m under no pretenses that you can just crank out a full novel in a month. Though 50,000 words is an impressive feat, its definitely not a whole book, most certainly not for me. Still, writing that much in a month is a feat I would relish, and probably brag about to no end. All this being said, November sucks for NaNoWriMo. Whoever put it there needs to have their heads examined. There’s family, pre-Christmas preparation, and my birthday is in November (hint hint). You take that many days out of a month and your word count per day is climbing dangerously high. On a really good day, I can crank out three to four thousand words. That’s on a really good day. More realistically, if I’m writing every day, I can expect a good thousand to fifteen hundred words. I feel really good on those nights. Given all that November has going on in it, and my own time limitations, NaNoWriMo is a pretty hard cookie to crack. But I wanted to do something.
A couple friends of mine were doing their own writing challenge in December. I know, not much better on the time format thing, but I’d already missed NaNoWriMo and I figured that something would be better than nothing. I set a goal of 25,000 words, half of what a NaNoWriMo participant would do and went at it. That puts my average writing at about 1,000 words per day and gives me a few days off, which is pretty much double my weekly word count goal from last year. I’m not sure that I’d ever tried to write quite that much in a month or that consistently. But I was game for a challenge. Long story short, there were set backs, pushes, and writers block, but with the word count goal in mind, I pushed through it. I didn’t have time to go back and rework the last section, if I didn’t like something, I blocked off the section and started over, counting all the words written. The lack of backtracking and constantly looking over my shoulder spurred me on in a way that was … well, pretty frickin’ awesome.
25,000 words turned out to be just the perfect amount to push me, keep me on task and make me feel like I’d made a major accomplishment by the end of the month. It worked out so well that I decided I was going to do six of them this year, every other month. In December, I cranked out a rough ten chapters of Impervious and while not everything I wrote will end up in the final novel, I got a huge start on the project. Two or three more 25,000 word months will see a first version done and in between I’ll have time to work on side projects like prepping my short stories for submission. Or maybe I’ll just keep writing on Impervious. Who knows. But there it is. Why I’m going to be doing 25,000 word months. I can’t say if the same thing will work for you or not, but challenging yourself to achieve something greater is always a good idea. Maybe a different word count would be better for you, but give it a try. You might find the results equally thrilling.