by Steph Beth Nickel
Thousands of authors all around the globe have participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) this November.
To “win” NaNo, the author must write 50K words of a new novel or nonfiction book … although there are NaNo Rebels who combine projects or choose their own word count goal.
So, just what is success?
For some authors, they must achieve a predetermined goal, such as writing 50K words in November, in order to feel successful.
Others need a deadline to keep them on course. When they complete their writing goal by said deadline, they consider it success.
This year, many of us have come to realize, if we’re disciplined enough to spend any time writing, we’ve been successful and “beaten the odds.”
One writer cannot define success for another. One writer should not criticize another for not accomplishing what the first writer defines as success … nor should the first writer condemn herself for not being able to write every day, never mind 50K in a month.
How can you set yourself up for success, whatever that means to you?
Determine not to compare yourself to others.
Others’ accomplishments can inspire you and give you something to strive for. However, another writer’s productivity and schedule may not work for you. And that doesn’t mean you’ve “failed.”
Honestly evaluate how much time you can set aside each week to write.
Take into account not only your other responsibilities inside and outside your home but also the physical and mental energy you have “left over.”
It’s true that you may have to get up a little earlier or go to bed a little later to make time for your writing, but don’t neglect your need for adequate sleep.
Consider reallocating some of the time you spend watching Netflix or scrolling social media as writing time.
Look for those “found pockets of time” within your daily schedule.
You may have 10 minutes here and 20 minutes there. It may not be ideal, but it’s likely to help you reach the goal you’ve set for yourself more quickly than if you wait for large chunks of solid writing time.
Keep in mind the age-old advice to carry a notebook with you wherever you go.
These days, that may mean writing in the Notes app on your phone or using an App such as Evernote or Google Docs. There are authors who write entire manuscripts on their phone.
Give yourself grace.
Do you wag your finger at other writers and condemn them for not spending more time writing? Do you think they should simply “suck it up” when life (aka 2020) sends them for a loop? Do you determine your favourite author isn’t a success unless they release at least one new book every year?
Your answers to these questions are likely “No. No. And no.”
You see what I’m driving at …
And in the same vein …
If you don’t meet today’s goal, give yourself permission to try again tomorrow.
It can be discouraging if a writer doesn’t meet their daily goal, especially if they feel the goal is achievable.
Even if this describes you, there are days life will happen and you just won’t get around to it, but that doesn’t mean you have to write off tomorrow and the next day and the next.
Each sunrise marks a new beginning, a new opportunity to achieve SUCCESS.
Determine not to compare yourself to others. (click to tweet)
Honestly evaluate how much time you can set aside each week to write. (click to tweet)
Look for those “found pockets of time” within your daily schedule. (click to tweet)
Give yourself grace. (click to tweet)
If you don’t meet today’s goal, give yourself permission to try again tomorrow. (click to tweet)
Each sunrise marks a new beginning, a new opportunity to achieve SUCCESS. (click to tweet)
Steph Beth Nickel is an editor, writer, and birth doula. If you would like more information about her services, you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org;
join her Facebook group:
or visit her website-in-progress: nurtureandinspire.com.