Tuesday, November 11, 2014

NaNoWriMo 2014: Day 11

NaNoWriMo is fun. Writing 50,000 words or more in a month is a nice challenge, but it isn't what we should take away from the experience.

This type of schedule isn't regular. If you think about it, anyone who writes 50,000 words every month has 600,000 words by the end of the year. That's six 100,000 word novels, eight 75,000 word novels, or twelve+ novellas at 50,000 words and below. That's madness.

Word counts that high are not sustainable for most of us. We have jobs, family, friends, other hobbies and interests, and more that takes up our time.  In fact, 20,000 words a month sounds much more reasonable. That's 240,000 words a year, which can still be multiple novels and novellas to be released.

The point I'm trying to make is NaNoWriMo isn't about the word count. It's a taste for the hard work a writer must put in every year. Ask yourself, can you put in the hours necessary all year, every year to make this a full-time job? It doesn't have to be like this; I'm a slow writer who doesn't have high word counts, and I'm fine. I like shorter works, so that's what I create. Who needs a 160,000 word epic when I can tell the story in 55,000 words or less?

The only way to answer that question is to finish a book. Was 50,000 words too little, was it too much, or was it right around the range of your style of storytelling. Figure out what makes you tick.

A common piece of advice is to write 500 words a day. Lots of writers say this, so let's put it under the microscope. Writing 500 words a day for a year comes out to be 182,500 words in total. That's even less than 20,000 words a month. Let that sink in for a minute. It's not about the word count, it's about the dedication.