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Well, the halfway point of NaNoWriMo has come and gone. I’m currently behind my goal, which is already a low number.

Allow me to explain… As I lined out in my previous post at the end of October, I knew I was going to be on vacation for a week in November, and, as a result, I did not schedule any writing for those days. So, now that I am back from vacation, my schedule tells me I should have 20K words written.

Huh.

I’m at 17,812. Not too far behind, but far enough behind to be worrisome.

I already had a goal of 2500 words per day, every day until the end of November. After a great day yesterday, I accomplished no writing today, and I’m starting to feel the strain. With 32,188 words remaining in order to “win” NaNo, and 13 days remaining, I somehow still have under 2500 words to accomplish every day from here on out. Apparently I knew myself better than I thought, and scheduled myself to accomplish 52,500 words during November.

Whew!

But what this means is that I cannot afford to have any more days like today. I can’t skip a day if I don’t feel like it, or if I’m “too busy.” I can’t pretend that I can play catch up with my remaining days, or else midnight on November 30th will approach and I’ll be unable to validate my novel with 50K words.

This week, my goal is to catch up to where I should be. By Saturday, November 23rd, I should have 35,000 words to my NaNo novel. Essentially that means I should double the length of my novel during this week. That’s a frightening thought, and yet a very exciting one.

I learned something this NaNo session though, something invaluable for following years. Taking a break throws me off my writing stride.

Writing is more a habit than anything. As with all habits, if you get out of the routine, it’s harder than you think to pick it up again.

When I returned from my vacation this month, I was exhausted. Writing was the furthest thing from my mind, and something I didn’t even want to broach for two or three days. Yesterday was the first day I sat down and forced myself to write. Thank God that I managed over 3500 words yesterday–they flowed much quicker than I thought they would, and I felt like I got to catch up a bit.

But then today, I’ve gotten distracted with other neglected household chores, which definitely required my attention. Writing again took a backseat. Although I say that all these things were needed, I’m sure that I could have carved out time to write had I been so motivated, had I continued my habit of daily writing. Instead, I put it aside to deal with some household tasks, and my word count has again stagnated.

While I feel guilty, I know that tomorrow is another day.

One day of no writing does not make me a failure.

I can still achieve my goals.

And even were 50K unattainable to me at this point, daily writing is so important, and continuing to add words to my novel is vital. While NaNo’s 50K goal is a great goal to reach, and it feels wonderful to “win” at the end of November, to be able to brag about the win, the true win goes beyond that. The true win is writing that novel and adding one word after another after another to my novel. It doesn’t matter what date I finish the novel, it just matters that I finish.