NaNoWriMo 2016 Day 9: Aim High – and Breathe

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“We aim above the mark to hit the mark” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

As expected, I managed a hundred words or so on my phone, thanks to the Scrivener Mobile app. At some point, I may write a post about the experience, but for now, I’m back to the writing. I am not, thankfully behind, because I’ve spent the last week push to do a little more each day, to hit above the mark set by the goal of 1,667 words each day so I’d have a pad.

Having a writing pad is something you should to try to achieve if you can. It allows you to breathe a little, to know that if/when something comes up to take you away from the writing, you’re not going to fall behind. The best way to achieve this is to push when the writing is good, not cut yourself off just because you’ve hit 1,667 words an fulfilled your daily requirement. If the words are flowing, flow with them and push past that mark, build up that extra that you’re going to need at some point in your writing process.

You need that extra not just because of the demands of daily life — which never go away, whether it’s NaNo or not — but because there are going to those days where the words won’t come, where ever single one feels as if you’re removing grit from under your fingernails grain by grain by grain. You’re going to push on those days as well, but the difference is not that you’re trying to exceed the mark, but just get somewhere in range. That’s what the pad’s for, to give you breathing room when you need it.

And there are going to be times when we need to breathe, even in this frantic month where we’re trying to squeeze in every moment chasing that elusive goal of 50,000 words by November 30. We need to breathe, because refusing to step back from time to time, to give yourself a planed rest when you need one is the writing equivalent of a child holding their breathe until they turning blue in order to get something they want. Either they can’t do it and have to stop, or they succeed long enough that they’ve become slightly light-headed from lack of oxygen. And in neither case has the child achieved their goal.

We’re in the second week and many of us have been running frantically since November 1. You need to stop and take a breath. If not today because your writing is strong and the words are flowing well, plan to do so tomorrow. Get words written, but take some time where you read or watch a little television or knit for a half hour. Do anything except write. Plan your breathing space rather than having it forced upon you because you’ve gone too long without stopping.

If you take that breath and recenter you yourself, you should find that aiming above that mark you’re trying to hit has become just a little bit easier.

Word Count Goal: 15,003