Using the Energy of NaNoWriMo to Achieve Writing Goals

I first joined NaNoWriMo in 2010. I won that year. I participated again in 2011 and 2012 though I did not win again. NaNoWriMo is how I met the girls that comprise my writing group, The Rabid Rainbow Ferret Society. NaNoWriMo is also, in a way, how I discovered I am a poet more than a novelist.


November 1st is upon us and the writing madness has descended once again. Only I no longer participate in the 50,000 word dash. But just because I don’t participate “properly” doesn’t mean I don’t cheer my friends on as loud as I can. And just because I don’t participate “properly” doesn’t mean I don’t participate at all.

Beyond the technical word count goal of National Novel Writing Month, the purpose of the event is to get people to set aside time for writing. Stop saying someday and make that day now. Find time to devote to your craft. And if you’ve never written before, find time to try. NaNoWriMo is all about time.

I’m horrendously guilty myself of saying I don’t have time. I have a million reasons. I work. I’m tired after working. I have a house to keep up with. (And a horrific nagging conscious that does not like letting me do something “fun” unless all chores are done… which never happens.) There are simply so many other things to DO that it’s far too easy to shove writing down the list until suddenly the day is over and it didn’t get done.

So no, I’m not chasing 50,000 words this November, but the energy of friends and productivity is infectious as hell, and I’m using that to chase my own set of goals. And what better way to achieve goals than to be accountable? I’m going easy on myself, because I haven’t been working consistently and therefore my progress has been coming more slowly than it used to, but here it goes:

This month I hope to manage 10 blog posts (not all posted this month, though some will be) and 5 new poems completely done through all edits. I also want to send out 2 more submissions to journals as well. It doesn’t sound like a lot and for some writers it isn’t, but for me it will take a concentrated effort and a lot of retraining my brain into thinking that writing IS worth my time and sometimes that might mean laundry takes longer and the kitchen is a little bit messy.

Hopefully I am far more productive than I am trying to be! But I know me. I need a reasonable goal to chase or I’ll give up before I get started…

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? Are you being a rebel and chasing a different set of goals? Check back on the 15th and 30th to see my updates, and check in each Friday at the Ferret blog to follow the Ferret girls who are chasing 50,000!


6 thoughts on “Using the Energy of NaNoWriMo to Achieve Writing Goals

  1. It’s always tempting to join NaNoWriMo, but poetry always wins for me. Instead, I jump into the November Poem A Day Challenge on Writer’s Digest. It’s incredibly challenging, but also so much fun! 🙂

  2. I’m not participating this year, because every time I have, I’ve experienced significant burnout in the aftermath, but I have major respect fro anyone that attempts it. November is simply too busy (and beautiful) a month for me to dedicate to being inside and frustrated, haha. But, my writing group is doing a copy of the event in January, and that’s when I’ll try it, since I have half of January off and I’ll be alone at home. Nothing to do but write as much as I can! (Unless it snows, because then you’d better believe that I’ll be outside acting like I’m five years old, haha.)

    • Oh man, the burnout. I completely understand that. January might be the better idea anyway!! I will wish you many words and many accomplishments on the projects you tackle… and maybe a bit of snow because we all need to be five years old again at times. 😉

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