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Day 15: November Goals

The next step in our NaNoWriMo preparation journey is to set November goals. You might think it’s a little early to be setting your November goals, but there is a method to my madness, so hang in there with me.

The first goal for November is super obvious: write 50,000 words in the thirty days of November. I mean, that’s the contest right there. I think it is eminently helpful if you break that goal down into two really important sub-goals: a daily word count goal and a goal to produce something every day of the month.

For your daily word count goal, the obvious goal is 1,667 words a day (that’s just 50,000 words divided by 30 days). For those of you who prefer to think in pages, the overall Nano goal is 200 pages (using an assumption of 250 words per page). That amounts to 6.67 pages a day. I recommend building some slack into your goal. I set a goal of 2,000 words a day for myself during Nano.

Produce something every day. Nano is all about momentum, so a great goal to set for yourself is to write daily. Plus, you’ll earn a nifty achievement badge from Nano if you do it.

One of the challenges of this can be that we don’t always feel like writing every day. If you want to succeed as a writer, you need to push past the belief that you need to “feel like it.” What does that even mean, to “feel like it”? I suppose you might say that the muse isn’t speaking to you, but maybe that’s because the gates to creativity are not open. On days when I don’t feel like it, I make myself write 100 words. Usually, I get lost in the writing and pretty soon I’ve written 300 words and suddenly I do feel like writing. If I still don’t, then I just keep plowing ahead with mini-goals. This is also a great place to employ Word Wars. These are quick writing contests held in some Nano regions. Usually the objective is to see who can write the most in a period of time, say 15 minutes.

Remember the wisdom of HARD goals. I introduced HARD goals on Day 1. Just to recap, these are goals that are:

  • Heartfelt
  • Animated
  • Required
  • Difficult

Your level of caring and commitment to the goals are at the heart of HARD goals. When you make something really important to you, you will not only increase your chances of achieving it but so too will the sweetness of victory be enhanced.

Time yourself. Here’s why we are focused on November goals now. I hope you’ve been using October to create a daily writing practice (if you don’t already have one). Now, start timing yourself as you complete your daily writing. Start to get a sense for how fast you can write. Ideally, you would time yourself at producing the same kind of writing that you’ll be doing in November. I find that my own speed varies depending on whether I’m journaling, blogging, or writing fiction. Start to get a sense of how long your 2,000 words a day will take to complete.

That’s it! Now go write!

Visit the Countdown to Nano Program Site for a listing of all the articles in the series.

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