Excuses, excuses, excuses…

Just for a bit of background, I’m in the middle of a writing challenge called National Novel Writing Month.  The challenge is to write one novel in the month of November, with a word count  totaling 50,000 words, minimum.  This roughly estimates to 1,667 words a day, if you’re just doing the bare 50K.  This year I decided to challenge myself to do 70K for the month, which means I have to write approximately 2,333 words a day to finish.  But the people who run the challenge also tell participants that they should, on their noveling journey, have fun.

There is something thrilling about writing on an insane deadline.  And I’m certain that the reason I decided on 70K is because I know I can do 5oK with no problem.

However, there’s something missing this year for me, and several other novelists who do this event.


It may be that I’m making excuses.  And it’s all too easy to let those ‘excuses’ build and keep me from finishing.

I have class.  I have essays due right up to the end of the month.  I have tendinitis, so I can’t afford to kill my wrists.  I can’t even write as much as I use to even if I wanted to.  My class schedule won’t let me write every day. There’s no way I’m going to be able to do the entire 70K at this point.  Whatever the excuse is, we allow ourselves to slack off, and before long, we’ve lost what we had at the beginning of the month.

And then I get to the weekend, and I realize that I can do this challenge.  Last Friday I broke out 6,001 in four hours.  The week before that, I was doing around 1,000 words per 15 minute sprint, doing about 3,000 words in three hours.

So one thing I’ve been doing this year is using my freeware word processor, Q10, religiously.  I’ve discovered that if I set the goal for the week, I can enjoy watching the numbers tick down as I write each word, however much I butcher spelling in the process.

This challenge is about committing that first draft to paper.  It’s not about getting it right the first time.  It’s not about having a cohesive plot.  It’s just about getting the story out.  And that gets me motivated to write again.

5 thoughts on “Excuses, excuses, excuses…

  1. Wow, this sounds like a great challenge. I agree motivation is the hardest thing to get or keep. Though the contest sounds great, I must admit that it comes at a bad time. Most authors write novels when they have a lot of spare time. Being a student and taking classes, it’s very hard to keep writing. I wish you luck on your journey!


  2. I think that it is really awesome that you are challenging yourself above any beyond this writing contest. What does the word processor do that is differently than word? And I think that the lack of motivation can apply to so many things in life and not just writing. However, I love writing and wish I had more time to write novels. Best of luck! You will have to let me know if you are able to make it to 70,000 words after all.


    • Q10 lets you set a “global target” and or partial counts, and it essentially shows you how many more words/pages/characters you have to go until you’ve reached your goal for the document. It also has a timer function that’s nice for word wars and so you’re not having to go to a separate website to set a timer. The web is definitely my worst enemy when it comes to procrastination.


  3. It’s always interesting to me, the idea of a rigorous writing schedule. It’s something I’ve always heard is a great thing, but have never myself been able to do it. I highly respect people like you who can set aside so much time per day to write, even amidst school and whatnot. A writing schedule is nothing that I have ever been able to get into…although, now that I think about it…I think I have a problem with most scheduled things.

    Anyway, I truly think it’s a good thing to get into. The practice will certainly pay off.


  4. I still can’t believe you’re going to write that many words on top of your scholastic duties. I’m impressed as well as your other commenters. Thanks for mentioning the Q10 software. I’d never heard of it before.

    Good luck with your goal. I have a feeling you’ll meet it!


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