National Novel Writing Month is an inspiring and often epic 30-day dream of writing 50,000 words. It has three easy-to-follow steps:
- Start at 0 on November 1st.
- Write 1,667 words every day of the month.
- Finish with 50,000 words on November 30th.
Brilliant! Except I’ve never once, in my 15 years of completing NaNoWriMo, done it that way. I’ve rarely been on schedule, let alone ahead, but I’ve always won. Because everyone is motivated by different things: some people by small, achievable tasks, and others by seemingly insurmountable odds.
It might be the difference between people who set their alarms early (or maybe just get up when the alarm goes off instead of hitting the snooze button a dozen times) and people who lie in bed until the only way they’ll make it to work on time is to leap up, skip shower and makeup and probably food, and literally run to the car.
It might be procrastination. Or it might be the thrill of the chase.
I always tell myself, “Whatever you do, don’t fall behind! Just write something — anything — every day, and it’ll be like climbing stairs instead of scaling a cliff.” Yet there I find myself, at the end of every month, making up tens of thousands of words over the nearest weekend or sleepless night.
It isn’t easy. But it is exciting.