“Best best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” Well, ain’t that the truth. If you’re keeping track of my word count (and I’m not sure why you would be, but I suppose you could be?), you’ll probably notice that I did not hit those high word counts this past week that I intended. I did spend some time beating myself up for this. I’m a failure, I thought. I’d been doing so well, I’ve been keeping up with my word count and my outline and writing (almost) every day. But now I’ve failed. I’ve failed this novel. This is where it all falls apart.
But then I remembered one important thing: brains are liars. That helped some.
Then Camp NaNoWriMo sent out an email that helped even more.
We’re just about halfway through the month, which means it’s officially time for a Goal Check Gut Check!
Never done it before? Here’s how to perform a Goal Check Gut Check:
- Go to your Camp project and look at your target goal.
- Ask yourself one question: “Does this goal still feel good? How’re you feeling about it, oh-gut-of-mine?”
- Revise your goal if your gut is telling you that it needs an adjustment. Maybe this means raising your goal to push yourself to even greater heights! Maybe you need to lower your goal because this month has been stormier than anticipated. It’s all about making your creative goals work for you.
It reminded me that one of the best parts about Camp NaNoWriMo is being able to set your own goal, and being able to change it—up or down—when your plans don’t go the way you think they will. “The best laid plans” and all that jazz. This morning I adjusted my goal, setting my target at 25,000 for the month instead of 30,000. Rather than beating myself up about it, rather than being resigned to meeting a smaller goal than initially hoped for, rather than any number of harmful thoughts I might be having, instead I’m psyched. Once again I have a goal that I know I can meet, but that will still be challenging.
At my last check in I admitted that I had a day when my brain just refused to brain, and then a day where I recovered from being unable to brain. Those were two lost writing days. This past week I lost another two: On Friday I straight up forgot to write. I was getting in bed that night when I remembered that I hadn’t written that day. On Saturday I went to a wedding, which was an hour’s drive away, and spent most of the day before that getting ready for the event (both physically and mentally). I remembered as I was getting in the car for the drive that I hadn’t written yet for the day. I shrugged it off.
These things happen. And that’s ok.
What matters is that you keep going. Those days aren’t failures; they’re just a different part of the process. You keep going, keep putting words together into sentences, keep stringing sentences into paragraphs, and eventually those paragraphs become chapters. But you don’t get any of that unless you keep going.
So for now, I’m just going to keep on keeping on.
- Current Word Count: 14,650/25,000
(Full disclosure: There’s a last step in the Goal Check Gut Check process, which I omitted because it’s not particularly relevant to me personally. YMMV.)