Sunday, December 1, 2013

I'm a Loser, Baby

When it comes to NaNoWriMo, at least. At the rest of life, I'm #winning like Charlie Sheen, just without the tabloid shenanigans and drug-aided psychoses.

I didn't get to 50,000 words this year. This marked the eighth year I've done NaNo. I've won four times (most recently, 2012). I suppose I should be happy with a .500 batting average.

On some level, I am. I realize that the stated goal of NaNo might be penning 50K words in 30 days. The real goal, however, is up to each person who attempts it. Some people just want to see if they have the discipline to sit down everyday (or almost everyday) for a month and bang out a bunch of words. Others might want to finish a novel for the first time, or use NaNo as a springboard to finish something they had started and put aside. Some writers may be even more ambitious and set a goal of 100K words, or more.

If you set a goal and hit it, you're a winner. It doesn't matter what the word-count bar on the site tells you.

If you set a goal and didn't hit it, then you need to come away with some lessons learned. Was your goal too ambitious? Do you need to improve your time management and find more time to write? Do you try to edit as you type and slow yourself down? These questions (and many more) are all things you can ask yourself if you didn't reach your writing goal. The next time you try to write a book, set a realistic goal and apply those lessons learned. See if your experience is different.

My boss told me that you have to write your goals down. Otherwise, they're just ideas in your head. I agree with him. I'll go one step further: you have to set deadlines for yourself. Want to finish that book you started on November 1? Give yourself a deadline. Maybe January 31 is realistic. Write it down. Set periodic reminders on your Google calendar (or online calendar or choice). Check your progress. Most importantly, stick to it.

This year, I learned a few things about my own goal setting and time management. What did you learn?