I’ve been reading The War of Art the last couple of days in between writing sessions. It’s a lovely book. I’m almost at the end and I’ve highlighted several lines in the book that seemed especially relevant to me.
One particular section that I highlighted seemed a little more relevant at the moment than the others.
Resistance outwits the amateur with the oldest trick in the book: It uses his own enthusiasm against him. Resistance gets us to plunge into a project with an overambitious and unrealistic timetable for its completion. It knows we can’t sustain that level of intensity. We will hit the wall. We will crash.
It’s time I stop being apologetic for my speed. I understand that there are writers who are considerably faster, and there are writers who might look at my 500 words an hour and wonder what I’m doing wrong. I’ve thought the same. But I don’t care any longer what anyone else thinks, because my speed is what it is and after several years of collecting data and trying different things to try to speed up, I’ve accepted that how I write is how I like to write, and that means I write about 500 words an hour.
The unfortunate effect of this being that I’m looking at my numbers, thinking about how much effort I’ve put into the last 6 days of writing and knowing in my heart that I probably can’t reach the 2,866 words a day I’ll need to hit every day the rest of this month to reach 50,000 words in November.
These have been my word counts over the last 6 days (technically, today is still in progress but I doubt I’ll add much to my total).
And I’ve written for this many hours getting those word counts.
And these have been my average words per hour for the book I started for nanowrimo.
Meaning I’m only averaging 412 words an hour on this book so far. Meaning I’ll need to write for just over 97 more hours to reach the 50,000 words by the end of the month. I just don’t see it happening. That’s just a hair under 7 hours of writing every single day for the rest of this month. Daunting to say the least and knowing my history, probably a formula for burnout if I’m not careful. So this post is me being careful. I’m reminding myself that avoiding burnout is much more important than hitting some magical number by the end of the month.
I wish I could write for 7 or 8 hours a day, but I just don’t want to. I generally sit at the computer for 10 to 12 hours just to hit a 6 hour writing goal. I know that seems like an awfully low level of efficiency, but that’s what it takes. I’ve timed and tracked and it is what it is. And I’m willing to sacrifice a lot for my writing career, but I need what time I have left for my children and my life. If I were someone who could decide to write for 7 hours, sit down and write for 7 hours and then flit away to live the other parts of my life, things would be different. But if you’ve been reading any of my posts over the last couple of years, then you know how many times I’ve tried unsuccessfully to be that kind of person. It’s time to start putting the focus on working with myself, my abilities, and my limits instead of trying so hard to change them.
It’ll be a nice change of pace. ;)
All that said, I’m not dropping out of nanowrimo. But I am saying now that the likelihood of me finishing 50,000 this month is slim and I’m not going to be that worried about it if I don’t. If I can start getting closer to that 1,667 words per day average I set as a goal for myself back on the 5th of the month, I’m going to be very happy with my progress. Getting my daily word count average up is my number one priority going into the new year, and this post is really just a reaffirmation of that. I love the energy I get from nanowrimo, but I can live without the win if it means I don’t push myself so hard I start avoiding writing again.