I’ve been thinking a lot about milestones.
I suppose for anyone with friends who are writers, this is nothing uncommon. Especially in November. Every time I pull up FaceBook I see dozens of friends trumpeting, or lamenting, the outcome of their day all based on that day relation to the magic number of 1,667. If they wrote 1,700 words it was good day. 1,500…not so good. And even if the day didn’t measure up, things are still good if they’re ahead for the month.
Most of us break up our days, weeks, years….lives…with milestones. They give us small things to accomplish on the way to bigger things.
Of late, my mind has been occupied with different milestones. A few weeks back the bicycle I was riding was hit by a car, and I hit the road hard. I was injured, seriously, but not severely. I was lucky—I was able to walk away…well, limp away. But I’ve been stuck in physical therapy nearly every morning since. My milestones have been more concrete…hold this weight longer than yesterday…lift more than yesterday…do more reps than yesterday…walk farther than yesterday. But even though it’s important, it’s just not very satisfying.
There’s a definite sense of accomplishment for the NaNo participants to make it to 1,667…or even better, to 50,000. If I learned nothing else from my previous stints with NaNo, it’s to appreciate, even revel in, these accomplishments.
Writing, like life, love and health, are long term goals. And if we don’t set goals, it’s easy to think we’re not getting anywhere. If we start writing, with end goal of seeing our name in print, and no milestones along the way, we run the very real risk of getting bogged down in the sense that we’re getting nowhere. And it’s important that we let ourselves feel a sense of accomplishment at each milestone, no matter how routine it may seem at the time.
To all you NaNoers reading this, it’s almost over. But you can do it.