April has come and gone and Camp Nanowrimo has ended. I had committed to writing 30,000 words and I succeeded. However, I did not succeed in the way I expected to. I was going to be gone eleven days in the middle of April and I had a couple of plans for dealing with this vacation from writing. My first plan was to write enough words before my vacation so that when I came back I wouldn’t be behind. I only wrote 13,000 words in ten days so I wasn’t as ahead as I wanted to be. I wasn’t worried though. I was bringing my laptop on my vacation. I would just write while visiting my friends and family. How many words did I write on my vacation? None.
Not only did I not write on my vacation but I never thought about it. I had a wonderful vacation but my mind was on vacation, too. I have read that lots of famous authors write no matter where they are. I apparently don’t have that ability.
It was no big deal. I got back on the twenty-second and had plenty of time to finish my word count. But I didn’t. I was busy with work and I kept telling myself I had lots of time. Until it ran out.
Work slowed down on April 28. I had three days to write sixteen thousand words, so I did. I wrote 6,000 words on Monday and 5,000 words each on Tuesday and Wednesday. It was easy. It wrote itself. I felt quite pleased with where my book was going. And it helped to have fellow Nano writers support me on Facebook. But all this mega writing made me wonder. Is this my style? Do I write best in large chunks?
I actually think I work best when there is a deadline, a firm deadline. I had to write sixteen thousand words by April 30 so I did. I have to write this post by six a.m. Monday morning so I do. However, I do think my books flowed better by writing so much of it at once. However, if I write best to a deadline I need deadlines. They are not so easy to find.
Nanowrimo is an external deadline. That works great for me. My blog schedule is an internal deadline but it is also external because I put it out on the internet and I will know if it is not there. Truly internal deadlines are the ones I ignore very well. Like telling myself I’ll write 1,000 each day of my vacation. No one but me cares if I meet that deadline and I apparently didn’t care very much.
So what would be ideal is to have someone tell me they want to see my writing on day X. Obviously an agent or editor would be best but I don’t have any of those, or not ones that give me immovable deadlines. Seth Godin calls this person a procrastinatrix. I’d love one of those. But it is a responsibility. If that person doesn’t care whether I meet my deadlines then I probably won’t.
I wish I was one of those self-motivating people, and I am a little. I start lots of projects but it takes much longer than it needs to the finish those projects. Well, I am now on the hunt for a hard deadline. If nothing else I’ll be writing book 3 in my series at Camp Nanowrimo in July.
“Deadlines just aren’t real to me until I’m staring one in the face.” Rick Riordan