I’ve been participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) for years, either during the typical November challenge or during the abbreviated Camp NaNoWriMo during the spring/summer months.
For those of you who don’t already know, the idea of the challenge is to write 50,000 words, which is the approximate word count for a novel, over the course of a month. In other words, the goal is to get people writing every day.
Now I’ve always done better if I give myself goals. A certain number of books to read a month or a certain number of fanfiction or blog entries that I want to post a month. That works for me so the idea of NaNoWriMo seemed right up my alley when I first got started. And I get a strange satisfaction when I write more than my friends do. But on the flip side I also felt like a failure if I wasn’t writing as much as everyone else.
National Novel Writing Month is a double edged sword. The goal of 50,000 words in a single month is usually too much for me. I get so caught up in meeting the goal that the novel I work on is all I think about to the point that I’ll go without sleep if I have to. I’ll go without reading and make excuses not to hang out with people. It’s not healthy. But pushing myself during that first year did teach me one thing, the main point of the challenge to begin with: I can write every day. And I still do, just not as much.
So this year I’m going to take advantage of Camp NaNoWriMo instead. This way I can make my own goals. I can still push myself a little more than usual but not so much that I can’t relax. And I doubt I’ll be joining other writers in November.