Another successful Writers Retreat is in the books for the Estevan Writers Group, one full of great food, great laughs, great discussions, and great writing (we hope!). Retreat gives us the chance to focus solely on our writing, to carve a little space out of our hectic daily routines and recharge our creative batteries. But where to go from here? How do you build on the foundation you’ve built for yourself at a retreat?
November is National Novel Writing Month, widely known as NaNoWriMo. It is the one month out of the year when you can be guaranteed to find writers everywhere typing or scribbling madly, while muttering to themselves that it doesn’t matter how good their words are as long as there are lots and lots of them. The goal is to write 50,000 words in a month, the first draft of a novel. That’s just under 1,700 words a day. This goal can seem especially daunting for those of us who struggle to write 500 words at a time, but it is a great way to force yourself to shut off your internal censor and push through writer’s block. It’s all about getting words down on the page. That’s what first drafts are for. All the beauty and finesse can be crafted in Draft Two, or Three, or Four…you get the idea.
For some people, myself included, November is an especially busy month, and there just isn’t enough time in a day to achieve the 50,000-word goal. But don’t let that discourage you. Don’t give up on the idea of making November a month in which to set a lofty goal and go for it. Use all that determination and encouragement flowing through the writing community to inspire you to achieve goals you didn’t think possible. Set a lower word goal, but make sure that it will seriously stretch your limits. After all, November isn’t for easy or lazy goals, right? For example, if you have other commitments that are going to take up half of all your free time, consider setting a word goal of 25,000. Or for those of us who struggle to find time to write every day, your goal could be centred on committing to spending a minimum of half an hour writing every day. Even if you don’t achieve the official NaNoWriMo word-count goal, you can absolute leave November behind with a new sense of discipline and accomplishment in your writing. You have an entire community of writers ready to help you!