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On Accountability during NaNoWriMo

Planning for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) this year has been more in depth than what I’m used to doing.

I’m really aiming to win this year. Before, I used to use that time to write something, but I never really took it seriously. I would try to write a story in a month. But this time, I’m really focusing on hitting goals that I set.

I decided to create a productivity spreadsheet to keep track of my writing throughout the month. I made a simple template for myself using the word count goals taken from the NaNoWriMo website. They also have a tracker set up so you can see how your word count compares to where you’re supposed to be each day. I wanted to have something that I can physically (digitally) manipulate and see the results for myself throughout the month.

So this is a screenshot of what I have so far:

Screen Shot 2018-09-07 at 10.50.36 AM

I know that I won’t hit the word count goals EVERY DAY. And I’m not expecting myself to, but I do want to hold myself accountable to play catch up and meet those goals eventually.

I made another spreadsheet on words per hour. I’m not expecting to write all day and I want to see how much I write during the time blocks that I set up. It’ll help me gauge whether or not I’m writing enough each hour or if I need to add more hours per day to meet my goals.

 

Screen Shot 2018-09-07 at 11.01.50 AM

 

I really am doing all of this to hold myself accountable when it comes to writing everyday. I think that in the past, I wasn’t really focused enough. I would write a few days out of the week and then forget about writing. Usually the weekends are what gets me. I want to be able to spend time with my family and friends.

It’s really hard to balance social life with writing life. I hate having to tell people that I’m not going to see them or hang out with them because I want to stay home to write. It’s hard to explain to non-writers how much this month means to me. This year, I’ll try to squeeze in an hour or two at the beginning or end of the day (or both!) on the weekends.

Another roadblock is that NaNoWriMo has Thanksgiving. That usually takes out a half week of time. So instead of 30 days to write, I only get 25. I want to make it so that when I get towards the end of the month I only have close to a thousand words left to meet my goal. I think that if I can just write a few chunks at a time during the holiday week/weekend, I won’t feel stressed about finishing and meeting my goal.

This year has been a great learning experience. I’ve been able to write about 1,500-2,500 word short stories within a couple days. I feel like writing these shorts are helping me practice and gear up for when NaNo comes. It also helps that I’ve joined a couple writing groups that focus on sprinting (writing in short bursts of time). I will get more into sprinting in another post.

There’s only one other accountability thing I want to set up for myself and that’s a reminder on my phone. I’m going to set up a reminder for every day to tell me that I have to write.

I know this all seems a little too much.

Do I really need all these reminders?

Do I really need to have a ton of trackers?

The short answer is yes.

I’m in it to win it, ladies and gents. If this is what it takes for me to get 50,000 words in 30 days, so be it.

I’ll be posting more stuff about NaNoWriMo as the weeks get close. I’ll probably be posting about my progress during that month. The blog posts will most definitely be shorter, as I’ll be really trying to focus my time on writing than blogging.

When all is said and done, and NaNoWriMo is over, I think I’ll start using a longer version of my trackers to continue my accountability with my writing and editing. I’ve never been so excited to track my progress as I am today.

Let me know if you’re interested about NaNo and if you want any of the templates I made to keep yourself on track!

Thanks for reading!

-Emi

 


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