NaNoWriMo and Procrastination

Today’s November 19th. To most of you, that probably doesn’t mean much. But to those out there participating in the annual insanity that is National Novel Writing Month, today is when we’re down to eleven days. Wherever we are in our word counts, we have eleven days to reach that magical 50,000 mark.

To those who don’t know what NaNoWriMo is, here’s a quick intro. During the month of November every year, tens of thousands of writers embark on a quest to write 50,000 words in 30 days. That’s roughly 1667 words a day. There are people who have no trouble with it and actually write upwards of 100,000 words during November, and those people are dead to me. I think I’m more on the median of people who survive November. This is my seventh year – yep, I’ve been doing this every year since I was 15 – and I intend for it to be my sixth win. I have to claw my way to the finish line every year, but I make it. Except for, you know, that one year, which we won’t talk about.

I actually had a strong start to this year’s NaNoWriMo. I hit 10k before the end of the first weekend. Then, somewhere around 16k, I started stalling out. I’ve struggled to get to the 20k mark, and as of posting this, have barely cracked it. (You can see my progress throughout November in the sidebar.) In the first week, the NaNo site told me I was on track to finish on November 17th. Now it predicts a grim December 13th. So what happened?

To be honest, I’m not sure yet, but I’m going to bet a big part of it is my inability to keep the Procrastination Monster at bay. I open up Scrivener, and then I open up SelfControl and think, “I should set this for 30 minutes. I could bang out at least 1500 words in that time, and, hey, that’s almost all of my words for the day.”

But before I click start, I inevitably slide my cursor over to Firefox and wind up on Tumblr. My ‘About’ page notes that I would get a lot more writing done if I wasn’t on Tumblr so much, and that’s true. I start scrolling through my dashboard and then think, “Okay, Sarah, go write.” But then my dash tells me I have 30 new posts to look at. That’s not that many! I should go check them out. Ahahaha, wow, Homestuck fandom, you so crazy. What is that guy doing? How do cats even exist they are just so cute [insert keyboard mashing here].

Before I know it, I’ve wasted two hours on Tumblr. You’d think I’d kick my own ass and go write, but instead I think, “The new day has probably started on FuneralQuest. It doesn’t take me that long to play my turns.” That then turns into, “Oh, better check my webcomics.” Then, “I wonder what’s going on on Facebook…” and “Oh, I should play my Triple Town turns!” At this point, there’s probably 100+ new posts on Tumblr, and where do you think I end up? Throughout this, I probably have my full series re-watch of West Wing going in the corner. (I’m watching episode 13 of season 7 while I write this post. Shit’s getting real, yo!)

Unfortunately, this post doesn’t have a grand lesson or any advice to other writers struggling with procrastination. I’m still trying to figure those things out myself. I know I have to figure it out. I want to be a writer. I know I have to kick my own ass and start writing every day. It’s turning out that’s a lot easier said than done for me, and it’s making this NaNoWriMo win a tricky one.

Do you have any advice? How do you make yourself stop procrastinating? Is it easy for you to write every day, or do you struggle? How’s NaNoWriMo going, if you’re doing it? If you’re not, does it interest you?

To make up for a post that is more rant than advice, later this week I’ll be posting about apps and programs for writers that I’ve found to be incredibly useful. Right now, I’m going to try to write. See you tomorrow for Tuesday Reads.

One thought on “NaNoWriMo and Procrastination

  1. Jo Knox says:

    From the beginning of my media/art/signage carreer, I have had to make deadlines….I had a biweekly column in Cape Canveral’s paper that HAD to go to press…I admit sometimes I did a book review when my topic was weak or nonexistant…later, working for my own company, Signs for the Times, I still had client deadlines so if I wanted to eat and pay bills, it was toe the line time..also, and this is a BIGGIE, I didn’t have the distractions of the net to lure me into ther realms as personal computers were still in the future. I can relate to your procrastination issues however, as I would have started a workshop on the topic, but nobody came…even had a great mantra, “who cares”!

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