Yes, I still participate in NaNoWriMo. When I’m in the writing groove, free from distractions, I can chunk out lots of verbage. Doesn’t mean it’s final-draft quality — far from it — but I give myself permission to write down stuff that would bug my inner editor.

I have one urban fantasy to finish, two non-fiction books to add to my Authors Handbook series, and some short stories to produce. My goal is 158,000 words this month. If I get close, I’ll probably push myself to get over my record of ~164K words.

To hit that goal means I have to write at least 5,267 words daily for all 30 days, assuming that I don’t have medical issues that sideline me again. At my 2K/hr pace, it’s only 3 hours every night. I’ve adjusted my schedule so I stay up late at night, which is my prime writing time. It’s quite common, and my prolific friend Peter J. Wacks has a similar late-night muse.

Not everyone can crank out so many words in a single month. Then again, everyone doesn’t have to. NaNo is not a competition between people (although it can be if you wish)…it’s a competition with yourself. You have to battle your own inner demons to write 50K words in 30 days, and it’s not an easy war. If you can write 300 words an hour, you can hit your goal with a bit over five hours of writing time daily. Hacking out 600 words an hour (less than this blog post!) will allow you to hang up your keyboard after less than 3 hours of writing time.

So, is the goal to write a novel in 30 days? Depends…what is your personal goal? Is it to write a novel, tick a box on a to-do bucket list, then move on? If that’s the case, get back to writing and get it over with. If you want to write as a serious sideline or, if you’re insane enough, to do this gig full-time, NaNo’s job is to train you to write. Daily. Butt in chair, fingers on keyboard.

So what’s your plan, Stan?

Here’s my overall goal for this month:

  • 70,000 words (minimum) for an urban fantasy novel. This is my first time writing a serious work in this genre.
  • 40,000 words for a non-fiction book in my Authors Handbook series. Deals with some skills for authors at conventions. Had this one outlined for a couple of years.
  • 40,000 words for another non-fiction book for the A.H. series. This one is about writing strong characters who are from non-traditional (white male) perspectives.
  • 8,000 words for Quincy J. Allen’s Penny Dread Tales anthology series.

That’s my 158K goal, and that’s not counting this blog post or other short stories that pop into my head that are dying to get out. I consider 1-3K shorts to be like the big wad of ginger they put on your plate when you’re having a big sushi dinner. It’s there to clean your palate. Should I get bored or stuck on one of my main projects, I’ll switch out to a quickie short story, bang it out in an hour, then return to my major projects.

Hopefully you’re well on your way to your own personal goal. Just remember, a bad writing day today doesn’t equate to a lost cause for the month. Keep at it. Every word you write is one more word towards your goal.

(Note: this added over 600 words to my word count today.)

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