I’ve fallen behind on my word count – and I don’t care

This is an apology for all the slackers out there (like me). “Apology” in the archaic sense of “defense.”

It’s November 21st and I should have written 35,000 words by now. Instead, I’m hovering around 28,600 words. The thing is, I don’t feel compelled to meet a word count and never did. I’m glad I went into this with that attitude, because I would have been doomed to Failure if not.

Too many people start out in NaNo full steam ahead and crank out ten thousand words in the first few days and then give up when they miss one day of writing. I’m hopelessly behind now and have accepted that I won’t reach 50,000 words. But I’ve written almost every day and I’ve cranked out material that I like. Before this month is done, I expect more of the same. After this month is done, I’ll keep going.

Too many people give up at the first sign that they see they might not meet their goals. If you’ve decided that the project is dead and haven’t written in a week and are hopelessly behind, then this is for you: you’re pardoned. Don’t expect for 50,000 words by November 30th, because you won’t get it. There’s Thanksgiving to consider, after all. And while this isn’t a blessing to procrastinate indefinitely, stop holding yourself to impossible standards.

If you hate the story you were writing and need to throw it aside, that’s one thing. If you love whatever it was you were working on, don’t let a few days of laziness make you lose a good thing. Or, if you hated the story and discovered something else that inspired you, go for it.

While I wouldn’t advocate this philosophy universally (particularly for your professional life), please remember that no one’s paying you to do this and the only expectations are your own. Take this moment to reevaluate your goals and methods. Because you can either see this as a year you failed NaNo, or the year you started writing your novel in November and it just took a few months longer than you hoped it would.

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