Happy Veterans Day to all of my friends and family who have so proudly and selflessly served our country! You all are so amazing! For those of you still serving to protect us, you have my deepest thanks. I ask God daily to protect and encourage you.
As I told everyone last week, most of my blog articles during November and December will be brief since I have lots of extra work right now. However, I think this post is too timely to ignore.
NaNoWriMo is going well, but slow. I wrote 4,538 total words of fiction last week, which is about 9 percent of the overall NaNoWriMo 50,000-word goal. Despite entering three times, I’ve never won a NaNoWriMo contest. The best word count I’ve ever accomplished is about 37,000 words in November 2010. That is certainly nothing to sneeze at, but I’d love to top it this year. However, even if I don’t win, I can’t count this year’s NaNoWriMo as a failure. No matter how short I may come to the overall goal, I’m still writing and that small victory is the important part about the contest, not the arbitrary word count goal.
When I first made my fiction writing goals for 2014, I was very upset with myself because my 2013 writing schedule had had so many problems. While my weekly blog writing was regular, my fiction writing was anything but constant. Most weeks saw one or two days in which I wrote strong word counts, while most other days I wrote little more than a sentence. There were also several weeks in a row in which I didn’t manage to write anything at all. This major lack of consistency led to delays in finishing stories of all lengths and consequently caused me to fall behind on most of my year-end projects.
In all, I managed to write during a scant 82 days out of 260 weekdays last year for a total of 52,359 fiction words. I had written the same amount of words in a year that successful NaNoWriMo authors write in a month. To say that I was discouraged is an understatement.
I sulking about the problem a little then I did what I do best in adverse situations—I got to work. I designed a writing plan using a small daily word count goal to help increase my reliability. I reasoned that if I wrote only 300 words every weekday of 2014 (250 not including 10 vacation days) that I could have a total of 75,000 words by the end of 2014. Three hundred words fill about 1.5 pages of text; something that I felt I could do fairly easily. It also meant that I would have to write 1,500 words a week and roughly 6,250 words a month in order to make my new annual goal.
Today, November 11, 2014, I’m proud to announce that I’ve written over 80,000 words so far this year—5,000 words more than I’d hoped to write when I set up my annual fiction writing goals at the beginning of 2014. This means that my original plan of 300 words per workday has worked! My writing confidence has definitely improved as have my time-management skills. Woohoo! I’m so pleased with myself! I’m pleased not only because I beat my end-of-year goal, but because I sat at my computer to accomplish my passion and my job with such consistency. That is a great feeling.
This past week is a prime example of how small victories lead to big successes. Yes, I only wrote 4,538 total words of fiction last week compared to the 18,500-word NaNoWriMo goal, but I also wrote 4,538 words in a week when I usually don’t write more than 6000 or 7000 words in a month. I’m well above writing average right now and that is also a wonderful feeling.
I think we often forget how small victories lead to big successes. In my case, I hope I never forget that writing 300 words a workday led to my first short story collection’s publication, my second novel’s rough draft’s completion, my first novella’s rough draft’s completion, and the creation of two short stories from start to finish. That is a ton of progress for a woman who was illiterate as a child.
As we contemplate sacrifice on Veteran’s Day and move into the season of appreciation surrounding Thanksgiving, I am grateful for the immense blessing of small victories in business and in life.
Until next time, may we each rewrite our world for the better!
The Seared Cookie Report: one Artist/Writer’s Labored Soliloquy (SCRAWLS) is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with love, art, speculative fiction books, and virtual baked goods for all. Please let me know your thoughts about this particular post and, as always, if there is any subject you wish me to discuss, contact me. Thanks!