Right now, it’s April, and that means, time for Camp NaNo.
For those who are unfamiliar, NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month happens annually in November, where writers from all around the globe pledge to write 50,000 words in 30 days — or about 200 pages. Camp NaNo happens in April and July (probably July for the teachers), and in this challenge, you set your own goals.
While I’ve been relatively successful in November, I’ve failed far more Camps than I’ve won. Then, a little over a week into NaNoWriMo this past fall, I had a thought. A suspicion.
Maybe I’ve been losing Camp NaNo because I set the bar too low. I shared this thought with you.
While all writers work differently, and how we work best can change, depending on the year and the external obligations, I’ve been pretty consistent in calling out myself as being momentum-driven. If I hit my goal enough days in a row, I am competitive enough with myself to not want to break my streak — see: my blog and vlog streaks.
After setting out my intention to edit 20,000 words a month of my space fantasy since January, and only getting 16,650 words in by the end of March, I was frustrated with my progress and set my goal Camp NaNo goal to edit 40,000 words in the month. Wherein I confirmed my theory!
My Monthly Goal Needs To Require Daily Progress
Now, I know from past experience what my max is. NaNoWriMo is doable — but not sustainable for me to do much more than work-and-write. So, I don’t want to set my goal too high.
But! If I set my goal too low, I coast too much. Once I start making excuses, it’s rare for me to stop. Now, that doesn’t mean I try to set my goal too high, and I do need to have light months in between to avoid burnout.
I suspect the reason that January and maybe even February failed was because of a combination of setting my goal too low and burnout between recovering from NaNoWriMo and a pile of family obligations, plus holiday recovery. March started to see some improvement.
Thus, this April – I started Camp NaNo two days late, but I managed to make up the deficit and keep going. Last week, I upped the goal to edit 50,000 words this month, because I was over 30,000 words edited this month. I’m currently on track to hit that.
That doesn’t mean I’ll be done with my book. A 200-page story is short for publishers these days, and science-fiction and fantasy novels especially — with the requisite world-building — are expected to be between 80,000 and 120,000 words. But, I’ll be 200 pages closer to cleaning up my rough draft and getting it ready for my alpha and beta-readers.
How are your projects going?
Are you motivated by momentum, the muse, or something else, entirely?