Last week my semi-NaNo-related question to you all dealt with how you measured a good day of writing. There I was, optimistically looking forward to another month of, as NaNoWriMo would have you believe, literary abandon. Never mind that my job leaves me feeling devoid of all writing desire when I come home right now. Never mind that, after more than nine weeks, I’m still sick with some crazy mystery illness and spending way more time in bed than is normal. And never mind that I knew November 2 involved a 850-page book release that I’ve been looking forward to for a year.
So coming into today, Day 7 of NaNo 2010, I had somewhere around 300 words. The helpful word count tool informed me that, at this pace, I’d have 50,000 words sometime around 2013. And clearly, for those of you that were aware of my self-proclaimed goal to worry less about the word count than about getting back into the habit of writing daily…well, clearly that wasn’t going too well either. This is the point where, in my first year, I dropped out, due to the Ridiculously Out of Reach Goal (hereafter to be known as RooRG).
But why is it that 50,000 words in 30 days is less of a RooRG than, say, 49,700 in 23 days? (Or, for my second-year pals in Spokane, 80 pages of publishable quality in a year, which, I promise you, though it may feel like a RooRG at times, you’ll get there.) When I sat down to write this morning I told myself to take it one word at a time, but after a few hours, I remembered that words have a funny way of not adding up all that quickly. (Oh, and that 12-double spaced pages feels like I accomplished a lot more than almost 2 days worth of NaNo output.)
Still, there were moments where, against all of my carefully honed NaNo instinct (but in perfect tune with my newly-crafted, MFA-honed, not-speed-racer writerly instinct), I found myself going back at times and take out extraneous language. Because I really didn’t need that that, or that adverb, or that dialogue tag.
So here’s my question for you for the beginning of week two: When your writing goal seems ridiculously out of reach do you tweak the goal to fit the writing or do you tweak your writing to fit the goal? This year I’m doing a bit of both.*
*Yes, I know I cheat and answer “both” to the question every week. I write the questions, I can do whatever I want.