Two months ago I quit my job to be a writer. I’m nearly finished with my first book, started this blog, and am looking forward to launching my e-newsletter.
I’m also looking forward to completing NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month. The goal of NaNoWriMo is for writers to complete a novel during the month of November. 50,000 words. Zero excuses. The quality of the writing doesn’t matter; the goal is simply words on paper. After a month not only will writers have the making of a great (or horrible) novel, but also the habit of writing every day.
The Daily Writing Habit
The the main goal of NaNoWriMo is developing that daily writing habit that will carry you through your career. Writing is similar to training for a marathon – at first your mileage is arduous and getting up every day and lacing up your sneakers takes tremendous effort. But after a few days or even weeks it just becomes habit, and eventually your day isn’t complete unless you get your run in.
That’s what I hope for writing. First, I need to find the right, quiet, inspiring place to write every day. Second, I need to set aside a time that works every day to give me a few hours of distraction-less, productive prose. Finally, I need to do it every day for at least 21 days (isn’t that the common denominator in habit-forming?) so that it becomes second nature.
It worked for my half marathon training. It should work for my marathon novel writing.
I’ve tried completing NaNoWriMo for the past two years, but have always let life get in the way. I didn’t have time for writing. I didn’t have any good ideas. This year, however, I’m committed to getting more serious about NaNoWriMo, finishing a novel, and developing a daily writing routine.
I have one more chapter left to complete my eBook and I have a rough outline for my first novel. For November, my goal is to finish the eBook and get a good start to the novel – think 30,000 – 40,000 words. I don’t know if I’ll have the time to completely finish the novel due to other projects I have going on, but I’m giving it my best shot.
It’s going to be terrible. It’s going to need massive editing. But I will have a solid, daily writing habit at the end of the month, which is my main goal for 2012 NaNoWriMo.