What NaNoWriMo Taught Me About Accomplishing Goals

Since I’ve started NaNoWriMo this month, I’ve learned two important things about goals and accomplishing them.

  1. Nothing is impossible
  2. Nothing is impossible unless you don’t make time for it

Let me explain.

The goal of NaNoWriMo is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. At first, this seemed extremely daunting to me. I’ve never written anything that long! A 2,000 word blog post seems like too much already. But naturally that NaNo community was all abuzz about the best way to conquer this feat. There are hundreds of calendars scattered across the web that break down the 50,000 word goal into tiny, bite-sized chunks that any writer, newb or veteran, can achieve. One of these calendars looks like this:

nanowrimo 2014 calendar

Once I had a daily goal and a weekly goal, 50,000 didn’t seem so difficult and for that matter, 90.000 didn’t seem to difficult. Especially if you had more than 30 days, like most novelists have, you could easily write 300,000 words if you wanted to. What this did was make the novel seem attainable. I could now worry more about the substance, the language and the story and forgot about the length which used to be so daunting.

So my first lesson is nothing is impossible. Things can seem insurmountable and they always will at first until you break them up in to bite-sized chunks and daily goals.

Now for the second thing I’ve learned. Daily goals are nice but if you don’t set aside the time to complete them, you’re screwed. Time is a very precious thing and I’ve wasted plenty of it staring at a computer screen doddling when I could have been knocking out words. Setting a routine for yourself is a good place to start, but if you are going to move this mountain that’s in front of you, you need to do more than just show up. You need to make moves.

I’ve found that setting a timer and forcing myself to work until it goes off works wonders. At this point it’s like a marathon or a sprint. No it’s not easy to keep going but that’s not a good reason to stop. No matter what you’re trying to accomplish in life whether it’s a novel, a song, a blog post, a scarf you’re knitting, an invention – whatever it is, set aside the time to work on it and commit to that time.

That is all. Thanks for reading! Go forth and conquer.


Author: Scott Taft

Scott Taft is a digital marketer, a writer and husband. He lives in Philly with his wife and dog. They love to hike, check out new restaurants and watch scary movies.

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