Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Time Management Tuesday: The What-the-hell Effect Is Looking Really Good Right Now

I don't remember my other attempts at National Novel Writing Month being as rough as this one. I haven't found any posts relating to my first attempt back in 2003 or '04, and last year I knew by the time I was 8 days in that I'd made a mistake. I remember more excitement the first time and less angst last year.

Even this year, I was feeling pretty good before Thanksgiving week. Sure, I was only able to work 3 days a week most weeks, if I was lucky. But that didn't seem bad when you consider that last summer I was only able to work 3 hours a week. And the first weekend I was able to put in a few minutes of work here and there. I don't usually work on weekends, so it seemed as if  I was cooking with gas, as they say.

Why Bother Continuing To NaNoWriMo?

But Thanksgiving. Wow. Had a great time, by the way, but I didn't work from the Wednesday before the big day until Sunday afternoon. It doesn't take long to get used to not working. And then when it was time to go back to work, I had only four days left for the month. Even though I never had any expectation of reaching the National Novel Writing Month 50,000 word goal, I'd only finished three new chapters. I have at least eight more to go. This is me we're talking about. I'm not writing any eight chapters in four days. I'm not writing any eight chapters in forty days.

Man, the what-the-hell effect is looking good. Because, what-the-hell, since I'm not going to complete anything with the NaNoWriMo project, anyway, I could quit and work on the revisions that are hanging over my head. They're important. It's not like I would be blowing off NaNoWriMo to start baking for Christmas or do the laundry that's piled up after having house guests. Or getting ahead on some cooking. Or recover from Thanksgiving.

But if I kept slugging away yesterday and today and keep on keeping on tomorrow and Thursday, I may finish a fourth chapter. Hey, a chapter is a chapter.

Also, forcing myself to stay with this is building up some discipline. You can never have too much of that. I can't, anyway.

Could The NaNoWriMo Pool Of Writers Tell Us Something About Discipline And Using Time?

According to NaNoWriMo Statistics , 384,126 people took part in National Novel Writing Month last year with over 34,000 of them hitting the 50,000-word goal. The 350,000 who didn't make it are far more interesting to me than the ones who did. For instance:

  • Why didn't they make it? How many quit and how many worked right up to the finish line but just didn't write enough?
  • When did those who quit quit? Was it at the end of the month, because, what-the-hell, there's not enough time left to make a difference? Was it much earlier when they couldn't keep up with the 1,166 word daily goal? Because, what-the-hell, they were too far in the hole to ever write themselves out?
  • Do people who do National Novel Writing Month more than once see an improvement in their result the second and later times?
Seriously, aren't we talking a research project waiting to happen? A research project on what being discouraged does to self-discipline and time management.

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