About NaNoWriMo & Lowered Expectations


Chances are if you’re NaNoWriMo-ing (writers love to make up words), you’re halfway through and you might’ve hit that wall. The first five days it’s all bliss and world-building. You’re as smitten by your characters as they may be with each other.

Then this story has to actually go somewhere.

You’re halfway in–maybe you’re even on track to hit the 50K goal. Or maybe you’ve already missed a couple of days and figuring your deadline is shot, you settle in for a Netflix binge promising yourself, next year. Next year, you’ll exceed expectation.

Can I give you some advice?

Just lower your expectations for this year. For right now. This moment. NaNoWriMo or motherhood or Christmas or whatever you’re figuring has to be done a certain way in a certain time frame to get a certain t-shirt.

Me? I’m only pretending to NaNoWriMo. I’m finishing the next novel in my Edisto series and it hit the sand dune at about 50K. So I promised myself, if I just wrote 500 words a day, every day in November (which is the whole point of National Novel Writing Month’s challenge), then I would be at a point so close to the end, I’d be able to see it.

500 words a day. That’s 15,000 words in a month in case you’re wondering.

Some of you write that in a day. (I am not your friend but good job.)

My usual writing goal is 1000 words a day on whatever my creative project is at the time. Then there’s blog posts and newspaper columns and social media. I don’t know about you, but my words have been running dry. I couldn’t make 1000 words a day on this novel. I could barely get motivated to crank out a scene every 3 or 4 days.

But when I lowered my expectation, something happened. Psyche no doubt. Related to my need for achievement, I’m sure. But at 500 words a day, I could suddenly write 800.

And I could finish my novel.

Whatever’s pushing back on your expectation, give yourself some grace to maybe not go at it so hard. Set your expectation on reality–not the castle in the sky–and see if you don’t find yourself climbing higher than you’d ever imagined.


This sequel I’m writing? It’s even better when you’ve read Still Waters. Right now every purchases benefits my fundraising efforts for Dancing with the Stars for Hope. If you’re already one of my faithful readers, consider leaving a review on Goodreads or Amazon. Much love and thanks to you!

I adore this book. It is wonderfully written and tells the story beautifully.

One thought on “About NaNoWriMo & Lowered Expectations

  1. This is so wonderful! I woke up so overwhelmed yesterday! This is such a busy season and it is a great reminder that sometimes we need to back off of the expectations that we undoubtedly put on ourselves. Whatever happens it is going to be ok. But boy is it hard. I do not want others to be disappointed!
    One day at a time, with small manageable expectations and goal and we can do this!

    Thanks for a great post! 🙂



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