Friday, November 12, 2010


Yesterday: 2047
Today: 2085
Total: 15,941

I'm making progress, but not very fast.  At this rate, I will be at 50,000 words in early December, which is not ideal.  The problem is, I don't know if I can mange to catch up enough to get there.  And the problem is related to today's topic: Pacing.

I don't mean the kind of pacing where you walk back and forth repeatedly, perhaps thinking out loud as you do.  I mean the kind where you try to keep up a steady, but manageable workload going.  And my "best" pace seems to be about 2000 words a day.  That's about all I can handle before my brain just starts to shut down, and if I push too much beyond that, all I end up with is junk.  Not that I don't write a fair amount of junk as it is, but if I push my brain beyond its capacity, it's all junk for the most part.

And I have to watch how much I do in one stretch, as well.  I find about 1000 words and then I have to get up- take a walk, play with the dog, whatever.  Just a short while, a nice stretch, and I'm good to go again.

This is why I don't participate in all night write-a-thons or word sprints or anyting like that.  I can't.  My brain doesn't function like that.  I think most people have a limit beyond which they shouldn't push themselves too much.  Not that I am saying you shouldn't try to work more, if you can, or that, on those rare days when everything is flowing like magic, that you should stop at 2000 words or whatever your goal is, but on a normal day, sometimes it's just not a good idea.  Because then you may find that the next day is impossible.  That you just can't dredge up the creative ability to write a thing.

This is not necessarily a bad thing.  Every creative person, whatever your discipline, has times when the mind just needs to rest, to recharge, to lie in wait for the next idea to present itself naturally, without forcing.  And that can be a very good thing.  It allows your creative self to become better, the same way a good vacation can make your working self more productive.

But NaNoWriMo is not the time to set yourself up for those "off" times.  We have a goal and a deadline.  Slow and steady is, for many WriMos, the best way to handle this month of frenzy.  So, find your pace and try to stick to it.  Your novel will thank you, and so will your brain.

Write. Now.

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