We are officially nine days into November and when I finally went to bed last night, I felt amazing. I pushed past head-nodding and what I know is crappy-writing-that-will-have-to-be-edited-like-crazy to hit the ten thousand word mark for this year’s NaNoWriMo. Well on my way to that fifty thousand needed to get me a winner status by the end of the month. Sounds great, right? Except the little stats page on the official site is telling me that “at this rate” I’ll finish well into December because to date I have *only* been averaging 1,121 words a day. So much for that buffer I started with when I stayed up on Halloween to write for two hours when it officially became November, huh?
But guess what? I DON’T CARE!
This year’s progress tracker on the NaNo website – which for those of you contemplating participating at a later date makes registering as a participant worth it alone – is much better than in years past. I say this because I am a numbers girl. I need the data at my fingertips, calculated for me, so I don’t obsess and waste valuable writing time assessing for myself just how much writing I have done or have left to do. As in years past, it tells you what your target word count for each day is if you write slow and steady and do the recommended 1,667 words a day. But this year it tells you what you personally average every day and how many words a day you personally need to do at any point in order to finish on time. Whoever thought of this improvement should be kissed. Sloppy and loud — on the mouth — with tongue!
Here’s why. November fifth is my wedding anniversary. I take that entire day off from writing every year. But this is well enough into the month – almost a week – that we are already into some serious numbers on the daily word count targets. Those daily 1,667 words add up quickly, kids! The target for the fifth day is 8,333, but instead I stagnate an entire day at only 6,666. Then when I go back to it on the sixth day and my word count target for the day is 10,000… well, you can imagine the stress and head games that go along with those two numbers and how far apart they are. The pressure imposed on catching up such a deficit, I admit, completely derailed me the first year I attempted this crazy adventure. But I don’t have the option of not celebrating my anniversary! Hubby is super supportive of my writing but even he would have issue with that…
Fast forward to this year when the same thing happened. PLUS, I had to work last Sunday when I would normally have had plenty of time sitting in front of a football game on TV to catch up on my word count. AND I’ve been unable to push myself to stay up super late this week without falling asleep on my keyboard. Or worse, writing incoherent crap that I have to delete the next day. Which results in my only having 10,092 words out of yesterday’s target of 13,333.
But guess what! My super duper nifty stats page tells me that all I have to do is write 1,814 words every day from now on to make up the difference and still finish on time. That’s only an extra 147 words per day from the original daily target or only about 700 more words a day than I have already been averaging this month. And totally doable when presented in this fashion.
My stress level for NaNoWriMo this year is more manageable all because of someone somewhere (who probably doesn’t get paid for helping on this non-profit adventure) who is a numbers person like me. Wherever that person is, whoever she or he is, I hope someday they stumble upon this blog and know just how much I appreciate this one stroke of genius.
If there is one piece of writing advice that I have found to be universally true no matter who asks it, it is this: Write. And write every day. I’m at ten thousand plus words in a week just by carving out two hours a day, every day except my anniversary. If I can do it with a full time job and hectic home life when the only time I have to devote to writing is the time I’m awake after my kids go to bed, then anyone can!