As I mentioned in an earlier post, I decided to participate in National Novel Writing Month this year—but with a twist. Instead of writing a 50,000-word novel, I would attempt a 5,000-word short story. You might think of it this way: if NaNoWriMo were a traditional marathon, NaShStWriMo would be a breezy, 2.6-mile jog. I discovered that I wasn’t the only person proposing a more achievable alternative to drafting a novel in 30 days:
I can proudly report that so far, I have met (nay, modestly exceeded!) my average daily quota of 167 words. Of course, I have had incredible support at home. When I excitedly relayed the news of my early success to my husband, he said, “Okay.” I coached him that a more fitting response would have been, “Good job!” He caught on immediately and flashed me an approving thumbs-up.
Unfortunately, the pacing of my story is off, and I am actually writing the first 5,000 words of a 50,000-word novel. In other words, my ShSt is all beginning, with no middle and end. Still, completing the first tenth of a novel is good, just as running the first tenth of a marathon is good (I have to imagine, as the only running I do is for a bag when my semi-incontinent dog starts to go in the house).
The lesson I have learned in all this is that meeting one’s expectations for oneself feels great, so go ahead and set those expectations low. Despite a little guilt that I would bring down the overall numbers, I felt compelled to record my progress in the NaNoWriMo system. When I entered my word count at the site, various pieces of data related to my effort were conveniently calculated for me:
Of course, most of these figures would be thoroughly disheartening to someone who was doing NaNoWriMo according to the rules. For example, I would have to (quit my job to) write 2,501 words per day in order to finish on time. But the reverse statistic is actually encouraging: at my current rate, I will complete my novel on June 29, 2013.
I am marking my calendar!