5 Tips for Catching Up

I lost sight of my goal last week. Did you? I planned to write another 12k words in my NaNoWriMo project and only ended up writing...3300, I think. Sigh.

So what do you do when you fall way behind in your writing goals? In real life, when you have a publisher's deadline you can't just give up and say, "Oh well. I'll get this book done sometime." No—you have to keep going and oftentimes the time is short so you also have to make up the words you're behind on. NaNo is practice for those days. If you're going to reach your 50, 000 words by the end of the month, you now have to write even more every day than you did before! If quitting isn't an option, then how do you handle the situation?

Be Your Own Boss

I lost sight of my goal last week. Did you? I planned to write another 12k words in my NaNoWriMo project and only ended5 up writing...3300, I think. Sigh. u have an assignment due and you stay up all night to get the work done. Or when your boss asks for the impossible, but you deliver—not by magic, but by hard work. Now, with your emotions set aside, you can get to work on those words.


Second, figure out how many words you have left to reach your goal. Since I'm doing NaNo, and I pretty much skipped this entire past week, I have 34, 034 words to write in 12 days. Whew, that sounds scary. But...is it? I did the math and it's "only" 2, 836 words per day which is a lot, but still gives me Sundays off and is still doable.

Mind Your Calendar

Third, take a look at your calendar and get real honest with yourself. If there's a day you think you might not have much time to write, cross it off and don't count it. If you end up with time to write on that day, then bonus! You can make up for some lost time. I don't think there's anything going on to keep me from writing every day (except Sundays), so my goal will be to write 3k per day. It's a little over what's necessary, but if I aim for 3k, either I'll reach it, which will give me a little wiggle room as I get closer to the deadline, or I'll at least try hard to get it. Because I know that some days are going to be great writing days, where I'll get 4 or 5k words no problem, and other days will feel like every word I write is like a mini battle won.

Keep Tabs

Fourth, continue to watch and evaluate where you stand—logically, not emotionally. With so little time left, you have to be aware of when you succeed and when you fail—not so you can beat yourself up, but so you can rationally calculate how many words you need to write the next day.

Show Up

Fifth, and finally, show up for work every day. If you're serious about reaching any goal, but particularly this one, you have to be willing to show up every time you promise yourself you will. No one else can make you a writer but yourself. No one else can get that story written but you. No one else can make your dream come true, except you. If you want it badly enough, show up—for the words and for yourself.