NaNoWriMo: It’s a marathon, not a sprint

Running at Sunset

Photo Credit: LindaSC via Flickr

A year or so ago I decided I wanted to take up running. I went out and bought some shoes and woke up early to go running at dawn. It was perfect, I loved it, and I did it exactly twice before I quit.

I assured myself that my reasons were valid. It wasn’t fun to run in my neighborhood. I didn’t like waking up early and didn’t have time in the evenings. I needed to find a track or something.

Lies, lies, lies! Yes, I did love to run (still do, in theory) but it was hard. I wasn’t seeing results (YOU ONLY RAN TWICE, MICHAEL!! TWICE!!!) and I was lazy. The goals I was trying to reach felt too far and too difficult. So I stayed on my couch. I still wear the running shoes, but I don’t run anymore. NaNoWriMo is my attempt to not do that again. I may have signed up on a bit of a whim, but I fully intend on trying my best to get to the 50,000. But the opportunity, and desire, to stop comes up often.

After hitting my 10,000 words plateau, I took the next day off. No shame in that. I wasn’t feeling well and life sometimes has an annoying way of getting all up in your face when you’re trying to do things that are important to you. The next day though, I had the thought in the back of my head that “well, maybe you don’t have to reach 50,000. Adjust your goal. Take it easy, man. This is just for fun after all.” While there is some truth in those words, I would have essentially quit if I had done that. I know myself. Take it easy, then easier, then just don’t get out of bed. I’ve wasted many years not doing things. Not reaching for goals. I’m a few months away from my 30’s and all I leave in my 20’s are missed opportunities and dropped goals.

Except NaNoWriMo. I want that badge on my profile page, even if I never sign up for it again. I want the satisfaction of getting there.

I stayed up late on my Friday night writing. Then I wrote some more today. I woke up early on Saturday to get some chores done to free up my day for writing. I’m now back up to where I need to be to finish on time. I’m making it work, and that feels fantastic.

Keep at it! The home stretch is right around the corner, and then we can have cake!

19 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo: It’s a marathon, not a sprint

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  3. Cheryl Fassett

    Great post!!
    I, too, have spent many years not finishing things. (more than you, so there is still hope for you!) :) NaNoWriMo was the big kick in the butt I needed to prove to myself that I can finish a novel. I have “won” four times so far and plan on doing it again this year despite accidentally deleting 19,000 words on Day 10! Hang in there and don’t worry about not running… In exercise and dieting of any kind, I choose to believe that it is the thought that counts. :)

    Reply
    1. Michael McMullen Post author

      Thanks! That’s a real inspiration to keep going after deleting that many words. Keep up the great work! Also, good thoughts about exercise and dieting. I think I’ll use that. :)

      Reply
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  5. orestgtd

    Thanks for linking to my post. I like your attitude about NaNoWriNo being like a marathon and like how you keep coming back to it even after set backs. I may not reach the goal of 50,000 words by end of November but wherever I get to I will be further along than if I hadn’t tried at all.

    Reply
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  7. wlouison

    Great way of expressing what NaNo is. I think it’s great you’re going for the 50k. That’s the goal, and if you happen to get less than that, so what. If you only aim for something like 30k, you’ll probably never get more than 30. It still is all in fun though, and I can’t think of anything more fun than trying to get that 50k! Keep writing man, and enjoy it while it lasts! And yes, in December, we can all have cake. :)

    Reply
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  12. judithhb

    Oh how I understand this. I started writing on November 1 with a hiss and a roar and easily reached 2,000 words. A cinch I thought. Then did the same the next day but guess what just like your running I did it for two days. Keep thinking about it. I have so many excuses. Excuses not reasons. And how many times in the past have I not finished something I started. So you have “inspired” me to go back to my fledgling novel and even if it doesn’t get finished this month it will be a lot further on that if I leave it at the 3,900 words it’s at now.

    Reply
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