Sunday, December 1, 2013

Finish that Draft (My #nerdlution)

This year, my students and I had secret word count goals for NaNoWriMo. We also had official, public goals. Our official goals counted toward grades and "winning" on the website, while our secret goals were, well, secret. My official goal, of course, was 50,000 words, and I "won" for the fifth year in a row. (By the way, if you want motivation to finish something, tell seventy 7th and 8th graders what you're doing. That'll motivate you.)

My not-so-secret goal was to write a full draft. My best guess is that this would be in the 60,000 to 90,000 word range. I knew this wouldn't happen during November, especially with NCTE and ALAN at the end of the month, but I also knew that after five years, I wanted to push myself further. I know that I can write 50,000 words in thirty days, but can I write a full draft? Can I remain dedicated after November?

So I already had tentative plans to keep writing when I noticed the conversation that led to the #nerdlution hashtag. And, happily for me, the timing is perfect. I won't have to write as many words each day, so I can also spend some time mapping out my story. And while I'm going to adjust my project target in Scrivener to 80,000 words by January 20, I won't have to spend every day writing (and writing and writing). Committing to 30 minutes a day might involve writing, but it will also be planning and plotting and adjusting and doing all the other important writer tasks that I don't allow myself to do during November. Perhaps this year I'll end with a draft that I'm willing to let someone else read.

So #nerdlution 1: Finish NaNo draft.

I also want to get back to writing here. The best time for me to do this during the school year is before school, and I confess that I've gotten a little lazy about this. I get up at the same time, but I read or play games instead of writing. When I started this blog, I told myself that pieces could and should be short and unfinished. Sometimes I would set a timer for fifteen minutes and tell myself I was done when the duck quacked. I need to get back to this. My most recent Nerdy post, for example, reminded me that a post can be as simple as sharing a conversation that I had with students.

So while I'm not quite ready to commit to 50 posts in 50 days, I would like to get back to four or five posts in a week. That's #nerdlution 2.

And while not officially a #nerdlution, December 1 is also a good time to revisit some of my reading goals for 2013. I reached 200 books a few weeks ago, but my other goals could use some work. I won't read as many professional books or #nerdprintz books in 2013 as I would have liked, but I can commit to one teaching book and two #nerdprintz this December. I also wanted to read fifty books that I already owned, and as of today I've read thirty (though my recordkeeping here might be flawed). Again, I won't reach fifty, but I will expand my goal to include books from last spring and summer that I haven't read yet. I also need to pick up Middlemarch again before I forget everything I already read. I like it, a lot, but it's hard to find time when I'm also prepping A Tale of Two Cities each week.

Time to reset my project counter:




  1. Congrats for finishing with such a strong NaNoWriMo project. I think with the determination and dedication I see in this post you will be on your way to meeting your other goals. good luck! :)

  2. So fun! I started my novel with NaNoWriMo forever ago...and while I did finish the draft eventually, I'm still working on revisions. That's MY Nerdlution! Committing to blogging is a great Nerdlution, too. I've found that it really helps me to have at least a few days a week where I participate in memes and they are pretty similar every week. I'm a huge fan of It's Monday! What Are You Reading but my new faves are the Slice of Life on Tuesdays and Ruth's Celebrate on Saturdays. It's a good blend of sharing reading and writing! Glad to see you have joined in the Nerdlution!