I’ve been reading a lot about Dean Wesley Smith’s (Insane) Challenge. Mostly interested in how he looks at a challenge, and his thoughts on making it a “challenge” as in pushing himself to go beyond what he has done before. Obviously, it got me thinking about my own journey, and deciding on a challenge for myself.
Many writers have heard of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Everyone has an opinion on it. Haha. I first participated in 2003. I cannot remember which November I first succeeded, but it was sometime way back yonder. I don’t often officially participate now, but I don’t have anything bad to say about it. (I could air some grievances, but that is in my opinion the nature of the beast with such successful endeavors…baggage comes along with the success).
For the purpose of my challenge, I got to thinking about the fact that I have completed that challenge a few times. I’ve had a year, maybe two, where I’ve written the 50 thousand words in a month multiple times. But I’ve never really sustained it. So, here is the deal. My challenge for 2022.
I will write 50,000 words (intended for commercial publication) every month of the year.
Where I stray from the NaNoWrimo rules
- 1. I won’t limit myself to novels. I will produce the words. However, they fall is fine by me. Short stories, Novels, Novellas, Poems (wouldn’t that be a surprise), even Essays or other non-fiction. What I won’t count is the nonsense I write on here or emails or mailing list stuff. I know many writers count pretty much anything they write in their production goals. And that’s fine for them, this is just my rule. (Note: I have no intention of collecting blog posts into a book or anything like that)
- 2. The monthly framework has nothing to do with the end result. It just sets and re-sets my monthly word quota. 50k that’s it. If the story I’m writing on Jan 31 leaks into February. Great. No big deal.
- 3. Everything I write must be put on the market. One way or the other. Or it doesn’t count. This doesn’t mean I can’t publish or submit late 2022 work in 2023. It just means for the work to count I can’t write it with the sole purpose of tossing it in a drawer and forgetting about it.
A couple of things about what all this means. The math, if you will.
In general, my particular writing “process” allows me to write about 750 – 1200 words per hour. That process consists of a lot of cycling back and writing as clean a first draft as possible. Most months, I’ll have to write between 1600-1700 words per day. February’s stupid 28 days being the exception. So, I need to find two hours per day. Every day. All year.
The challenge for me will really come down to sticking to it when the work schedule gets hairy. I write first thing in the a.m. before the rest of the house wakes up and before the workday can dig into my writing time… but, what scares me are those days when I need some early hours at work.
That fear (a silly word really, it’s not like I’m swimming in a pool of sharks) had me think about a fall back position. Dean has this in his challenge. I decided against it.
So, this is it. NaNoWriMo all year round. If I succeed, I have 600,000+ more words of commercial fiction (or some non-fiction) in my stable.
Wish me luck!