NaNoWriMo Day 22: Woefully Behind/Brightly Optimistic

Every year I do NaNoWriMo, I am either on point or ahead, some years I get a little behind, but I almost always win the contest. But, what is winning? Getting 50k words in a document? Honestly, I could write nonsensical drivel and get fifty thousand words in a few days. I would get zero satisfaction past the short lived I won announcement banner rush of dopamine. I’d get no real sense of accomplishment out of that type of win.

When I first started doing NaNoWriMo, I knew nothing about plot structure, the elements needed in a scene, character arcs, or subplots. I wrote a lot of things happening, but there was no real story there. In the years since, I’ve read a lot of books on writing, attended workshops, classes, and conferences. So, when I sit down to write, I have already done a lot of prep work. The characters don’t ‘go off on their own adventure’, and I don’t write scenes simply because I want the characters to do whatever is happening in the scene. I have a lot of fun with my drafts, but I’m not simply getting in words or entertaining myself anymore.

I think the reason I’m not likely to win this year is not only that, but I’ve found my writing pace. I’ve formed a daily writing habit and have regular hours. NaNo isn’t the only time when I’m serious about writing. The contest isn’t motivation. My novella selling and the reviews coming in is my motivation now. I’m not going to take a break from writing in December. This is my career and I’m dedicated to it.

I’ll still participate in NaNoWriMo because I believe the community is a wonderful component of the contest, and I believe in supporting other writers in forming a daily writing habit.

Hope you’re all doing well. Happy writing!

©TJ Deschamps

Photo by Engin Akyurt on

Comment Section

  • I hear you. I did two NaNos before I was published and won both times. The timing worked out this November, so in I plunged. But this November isn’t like 2014 & 2015, and I’ve had to pause and rework my outline, plus deal with other writerly chores. A few days ago I decided to let go of the 50K goal, and I feel much lighter now. Best of luck with your WIP!

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