Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Tortoise And The Hare

I am now well into the second week of National Novel Writer’s Month, more commonly known as NaNo, which is a challenge to write 50,000 new words of a novel during November.

This will be my thirteenth year of doing this, and if you think the outcome is in question, I can tell you, not where I’m concerned. In all the years I’ve done this, there is only once when I didn’t get my word count verified as a win, and that year I had technical issues with my phone line which didn’t get solved until after the first of December. Back then, I had a dial-up, so that was a hindrance.

At any rate, I always manage to finish this challenge.

How I manage is another issue. And I will admit I do have tons of time to write, since I don’t work, but let’s face it, I need it. A good illustration of why I need so much spare time is what happened this Saturday at a local write-in.

For starters, write-ins are when local people who all signed up for the NaNo get together at some designated time and place and write. I am aware that there are not “in real world” meetings and groups for NaNo everywhere, but they do exist, and my local group is pretty cool.

At any rate, I did attend a write-in on Saturday, and other than writing, and a bit of chatting, one thing we do at these events is have what is termed either word wars or word sprints. These are timed events, usually for anything from five minutes to as much as a half hour, but in our group, we usually go for fifteen minutes.
The goal of these word wars is to type as many words as you can during that time. Obviously, the person with the highest number wins.

Saturday we did this twice, and just before we started the second one, I predicted I’d lose again. The fact is I usually lose these things, and Saturday was no exception. Everyone else managed to get at least twice as many words as I did, but you see, of all the people in attendance Saturday, I was the one with the highest overall word count.

In the end of the second sprint, one person in our group got nearly nine hundred words, an impressive total for just fifteen minutes, while I didn’t even manage four hundred. And yet, each year this lady usually ends up typing like a mad woman on the last day of month, frantically trying to finish before the time is up, and generally making it at the last minute, last year she didn’t even manage that much.

Now, I admit she has a lot of other things she’s doing during the month. She’s one busy woman. She honestly would never finish this challenge in time if she couldn’t type at the speed she does.
I, on the other hand, don’t have anywhere near as much on my calendar, and I can manage to write nearly every day for several hours straight, each time. And I finish the challenge long before the month is out. Last year I actually managed just over 63k words total for the month and at the rate I’m going I may well do the same this year.

After all, today is only the 11th of the month, and in order to make 50k words by the last day of month, you will need to have written 18,333 words by the end of today. I made that last Saturday, and then some. At this moment, I’m set to exceed 25k today, and that is the number you’d need to reach by this coming Sunday.

In other words, I’m the Tortoise, and my friend is the Hare. Slow and steady wins the race. Aesop knew what he was talking about.

Happy writing everyone. J

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