NaNoWriMo Continues – December Recap

An update on the “novel type thing”- it’s still just a thing. We can’t put this kind of pressure on it by calling it a “novel,” right?

At the end of November, I posted about what I wanted to do with the project going forward. Despite writing that at the end of November, I floundered for most of December. I knew the next step was finishing the shitty first draft. And yet, no pressure was really on anymore, so it didn’t really seem to matter if I wrote and increased wordcount (and got closer to, you know, an ending or whatever), or didn’t.

So for the most part, I didn’t. I knew it had mattered to me to make 50K by the end of November, even though the only penalty for not doing so was just that people would know I had not done so. I’ma call this ‘positive peer pressure’ rather than ‘perfectionistic insecurity.’ Anyway, I figured the threat of a similar consequence and the positive peer pressure this could apply might help encourage me to put writing back near the top of my daily to do list.

I had a friend offer to be my “accountabilibuddy” and so I devised a system I knew would motivate me. My new goal was 80,000 words by the end of December (with a grace period of 6 days – to January 6th in case the holidays found me spending more time with, you know, family and friends than holed up writing).

One of the things that had helped me during November was having an end goal overarching the daily word count… so, some days I got ahead and others fell behind. So I still had a big/solid goal, but there was wiggle room on the daily.

I decided to operate this the same way. I sent my accountabilibuddy the document containing my NaNo project as-is so far. The deal was, I wanted to have a grand total of 80,000 words (or be finished with the plot, whichever comes first), by the year’s end.
I periodically sent newer versions with increased word counts. If I can reach 80K by the end of the year grace period, then that document does not get opened or read. If I don’t, then my accountabilibuddy reads however much I am short (so if I am 6,000 words short of the goal, he’ll read the first 6,000 words) AND will select from that amount read something to post on social media of his choice, not more than a paragraph, and not less than a sentence.
To help myself visualize the length of the work, I kept highlighting from the start of the document the amount of words I had left to go, or in other words, the zone available to reading and posting. That zone has shrunk as I have added more words and gotten closer to the goal of 80K.
I’m more or less on track, although I had let it get to a point where that goal has me in a similar spot to where I was in November – about 2,500 words a day is necessary for me to make the January 6th grace period mark. I’m still not sure whether the 80K of words or the ending of the story will come first. I used to know what the ending would be and I kind of don’t anymore. I have some ideas, but nothing is set in stone.
While the wordcount is almost immaterial to the actual telling of the story – and while I anticipate getting it up to a high word count only so I can bring it down again by cutting, I have found that pushing words is the best way I’ve got so far to get myself writing.
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