This year for #NaNoWriMo I have set an alternative challenge for myself: Not to check my word count numbers for the entire month of November.
I set this goal because I knew I had other obligations that would keep me from reaching 50,000 words this month, and because I have to prevent myself from comparing my word count numbers against that of my friends. You see, I tend to be a bit obsessive about reaching my word count goals, and I inevitably feel left out when my friends are participating in the full NaNoWriMo challenge and I cannot. Thus #NaNoAnonymous was born. Thirty days of NOT checking my word count, but simply building good habits by working on my manuscript daily and knowing full well that I will not reach 50,000 words this month.
Well, it’s day 2 folks, and my challenge is already proving quite difficult. Thankfully, with Google Docs (my primary writing tool) you don’t automatically see the word count growing (or not growing) in the lower left hand corner. Instead, you must press Control+Shift+C to bring up the word count numbers.
Unfortunately, pressing Control+Shift+C has become a nervous tick for me in my writing. Paused because I cannot think of the right word? Let’s check my word count. Control+Shift+C. Finished a paragraph? Control+Shift+C. Got distracted by Facebook and can’t remember my word count? Control+Shift+C. Stopped typing for a second to take a sip of water? Control+Shift+C. Half of the time I have the word count up on my screen before I even know what I’m doing.
The habit is unhealthy, and detrimental to my progress as a writer and to my goal of not checking word count this month.
I have accidentally pressed Control+Shift+C a total of three times so far, but I was able to exit the screen before seeing my word count each time. Close call!
Changing my habits is going to be harder than I anticipated, but I’m more determined than ever to build a healthy relationship with my word count. That begins with some time apart, and I’m ready to do that.
In the mean time, I am enjoying seeing my friends’ updates in the motivated first two days of NaNoWriMo 2016. I’m excited for all of you guys, and hope we can go to some write-ins together! This NaNoWriMo, since I’m less pressured to meet a word count daily, I may actually have time to socialize and meet other writers between writing sessions and home improvement projects. We shall see!
Best of luck to everyone participating in this year’s nano. I look forward to writing alongside you, with my own unique challenges to overcome this November.