Lightbulb Moment: When Writing, Pacing Has Two Limits

Last week, I was talking with an authortuber friend about my post, and the fact that reason 3 – they can’t write that fast – was why NaNoWriMo didn’t work for them. Writers think a lot about the upper limit of their writing pace. NaNoWriMo, the 50,000-word challenge in November can be daunting, or frankly, just unachievable for many writers.

Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t let NaNoWriMo push you to write more than you normally would — it can be a great way to find your limits, even if you don’t win.

I told my authortuber friend that with my current life setup, I can make it work, but it takes letting other things in my life slide a bit. It’s not my natural pace.

Which reminded me that my natural pace is 25-30,000 words a month. 10k seems easily doable, but for me, there’s a major problem.

Lack Of Momentum

I am 100% momentum-driven and 10,000 words in a month (in other terms: 333 words per day or a page to page and a half, depending on your font) is too slow!

My momentum drops and I find myself just phoning in my words. Going longer and longer between writing sessions because it’s not “that many words needed” (especially compared to November).

What Happened When I Forgot

At the beginning of this year, I was trying to finish last year’s NaNoWriMo manuscript. I thought I was being reasonable with a light 10k a month challenge. But as my pace got slower and slower, my space fantasy started to turn into a tale of tax fraud and school field trips. Not at all where I wanted my story to go! I’d lost the heart of the story because I was (once I switched to voice-to-text-writing, literally) phoning it in.

I was forgetting where I was going and just focusing on “if I’m here now, what could happen next”. Every time I took a step forward without thinking about where I wanted to go, I veered further and further from the story I wanted to write.

Conclusion

While my pace may not look like yours, we all have a natural pace we can sustain, adjusted by our current life circumstances. Don’t forget that your sweet spot has both an upper AND a lower limit.


What’s your natural pace? Have you ever had a story stall out because you slowed down too far?

4 Comments

  1. This is so true. Today I have written like crazy. I couldn’t even tell you how many words I have written…looooaaaads!!! but yesterday… zilch! nothing! Do I worry. Not at all. Nothing is late. Nothing is behind schedule (I set my own schedule) and no one is unhappy. In my opinion writing is everything about great mental wellbeing not an additional stress to be managed

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I too am a slow writer. For me 1000/day is very good. Last year was my first year participating and I got 30K words – but it took me 5 extra months. This year if I get another novella out of it I’ll consider is a success.

    Liked by 1 person

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