Don’t let your fear of a big task get in the way of taking the first step. That is the idea behind “National Novel Writing Month” (NaNoWriMo for short). During the month of November, aspiring novelists can sign up with NaNoWriMo.org and pledge to write a 50,000 word novel (about 175 pages) between November 1st and November 30th.
While this may seem like an insanely short amount of time to write such a lengthy piece, there is one rather large catch to the whole process: it doesn’t have to be good.
NaNoWriMo is all about quantity, not quality. The idea is that aspiring novelists often get caught up in the planning and editing process in an attempt to make their novels perfect. However, instead of ending up with a “perfect” novel, they end up with a perpetually unfinished one.
The purpose of NaNoWriMo is to create a finished product, even if it isn’t very good, with the assumption that you can always go back and revise later, but at least it’s done. It is also much easier to sit down and write once you’ve removed the pressure that it has to be your most brilliant work.
Removing the Need for Perfection
While we don’t all aspire to be novelists, we surely all have some big task in our lives that we dream of accomplishing, but haven’t found time to do. I challenge you to take a page out of this book (pun intended.) Remove the pressure that it has to be your best work, and simply start working.
Too often, we let our pursuit of perfection get in the way of productivity. A mediocre finished product is always better than a “perfect” half-finished one. What have you always dreamed of accomplishing? Try making December or even January your month to finish that big task you’ve always wanted to. (You can even give your month a hip abbreviation.)
Let me know what you decide to finish. Over 30,000 people wrote a novel during NaNoWriMo last year. What will your accomplishment be?
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Photo Credit: Renjith Krishnan