By: Marilyn L. Davis
NaNoWriMo is the National Writing Month, held in November. The rules are simple: write your 50,000-word novel from November 1 through midnight November 30th. No edit, no revisions, just writing. I had two friends participating, and one finished the challenge, and one hit the wall at 30,000 words.
While NaNoWriMo might be the Mt. Everest, there is a mountain that is taller. Mauna Kea is over 10,000 meters tall compared to 8,848 meters for Mount Everest – making it the “world’s tallest mountain”. And sometimes, how we measure our success, oh, and that distasteful word – failure, is not always straightforward. We have to understand our starting point and the point of reference.
Referencing is Relative
Just as the criteria for measuring the mountains relies on different starting points, we writers trap ourselves sometimes with setting the bar too high to begin with, or we expect too much in the beginning.
- Will this post go viral?
- Will I make a million dollars from my writing?
- Will I become famous?
- Will other writers hang on my every word?
Steven Pressfield sums up the issue for any creative endeavor, “The artist cannot look to others to validate his efforts or his calling. If you don’t believe me, ask Van Gogh, who produced masterpiece after masterpiece and never found a buyer in his whole life.”
When people are only writing to accomplish the accolades and income, most get discouraged and quit. Now, before you think that’s a reference to my friend, it’s not. His schedule for November got bogged down with the end of semester requirements, completing an internship at the Press, his job, and making sure that he got A’s in his classes – which he did. Mission accomplished.
Sometimes, our goals change mid-stream, or in his case, mid-month. He realized that he couldn’t produce for NaNoWriMo and fulfill his short-term objectives. But he’s got a good start on his novel, and that’s more than some writers have.
2016 Goals and Tracking Progress
For 2016, have you decided what your writing goals will be? Without goals, sub-goals and tracking progress, many writers keep trying to get finished without understanding, not just the importance of setting goals, but of seeing whether you are getting beneficial outcomes.
Bill Copeland sums it up as, “The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.”
In essence, if your goal is to score, then you continue with forward progress, and when you are side-tracked with other life issues, you get back on track as soon as possible. And before you decide that I’m only preaching and not performing, here are my goals for 2016:
- Write from 6 AM until 9 AM, break, write until 11 AM. Edit from 3 PM until 5 PM, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday
- Reduce the number of distractions by turning off the phone
- Do not check social media except during breaks, or after 5 PM
- Create “New Year – New Perspectives” (January, only) for FromAddict2Advocate
- Write three posts for my new partner in FromAddict2Advocate
- Write six posts, each month, for Two Drops of Ink
- Write two posts per week and update each Thursday’s Cues and Quotes for FromAddict2Advocate
- Update TIERS website
- Solicit new writers for Two Drops of Ink and FromAddict2Advocate
- Learn more about social media: Subscribed to three newsletters
- Unsubscribe to twenty-four mediocre newsletters
- Make the effort to comment on five other writer’s blogs daily
- Participate more in worthwhile communities on Google Plus
I’m not sure if my goals represent climbing Mt. Everest or Mauna Kea, and it doesn’t matter. This time, next year, when I’m done meeting my objectives and goals, I’ll let you know how the writing, reading, subscribing, learning and commenting went. Stay tuned. . .