Nanowrimo: Cultivating a Daily Practice

Hope everyone votes in the U.S. elections today. No matter who you vote for, it is important to exercise your right to choose a leader to represent you at the highest level.


Each year in November, writers around the world gear up to participate in Nanowrimo – National Novel Writing Month. The challenge is to write 50,000 words of a first draft of a novel in just 30 days. This is how the bestselling books Water for Elephants and The Night Circus were written.

The point of Nanowrimo is to get into the habit of a daily writing practice. If you are able to hit just 1,667 words per day for 30 days, you will have a book at the end. All you have to do is work on making it to the 1,667 mark. This is a much less daunting feat than thinking about writing a 50,000-word novel in its entirety.

I started writing my memoir during Nanowrimo 2011. I’m still writing it one year later, so I guess I failed at the challenge. But this year, I have committed to finishing the memoir during Nanowrimo 2012. I’m aiming for a 60,000 word memoir (approximately 220 pages) and am currently at 32,000 words. So I need to write 28,000 words in the next 24 days, or an average of 1,167 words per day. Yesterday I wrote 600 words. The day before, I wrote 1300 words. It doesn’t matter. I will consider this month a success if I sit down and write something every single day. The point is to cultivate a daily practice.

A daily practice is not just useful for writing. If you do something small, but do it every single day, you will reap huge rewards before you know it. In this spirit, I have also committed to one other daily task for the month of November: doing 3 sets of 25 abs every day. I’ve held to this commitment since November 1 and am already seeing subtle (very subtle) results.

I read somewhere that self-esteem comes from honoring the promises you make to yourself. When you execute on your promises to yourself, you become more confident in your word. Others start to take you more seriously as well. Will you commit to taking one small step every day towards your goals?