The Little Engine That Could

Posted: July 16, 2013 in Uncategorized
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It’s a wonderful story, right? A small blue engine chugging along the tracks and despite all obstacles his ability to think positively allows him to accomplish his dreams. While I’m sure I read the story as a child, I’ll admit it’s been awhile since I’ve revisited the tale except in the use of metaphor, so we’ll have to stick to the watered down version of the story that I presented within two sentences. It’s a classic, after all, there has to be more to it than that, right? More to the point, this week I’ve felt much like that same little engine as I chugged along on my word count for NaNoWriMo telling myself, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.” Or, to use a more recent metaphor that I read, “I find shark teeth.”

It’s no secret that I’ve fallen seriously behind my word count. I was a little over 12,000 words behind when I woke up yesterday morning. To put that in a different perspective, I was just shy of Day 8 with my word count and we were starting Day 15 here in the real world. As of this evening, I’m at Day 11 with my word count and in the real world we are on Day 16 of the crazy ride of NaNoWriMo. I’ve done a crazy amount of writing in two days. Almost 6,000 words. The goal is to continue trucking along with 3,000 words per day and hope I don’t reach critical mass thus exploding my brain.

Truth be told, there was a moment yesterday when I considered changing my word count goal. It’s a valid choice, and one that was mentioned in the most recent Pep talk. I thought about decreasing the count to 40,000, which is still a lofty goal but much more doable with the time I have left. Accomplishable. Easily attainable with a strict word count that was still well above the needed average per day word count. I talked about it with my boyfriend, mentioning how abysmally behind I was and how it might be better for my sanity to lower my goal. And as I said these words I realized that wasn’t what I wanted at all. If I’m going to win, I want to win with the goal I set out for. If I don’t make it then it just wasn’t meant to be this time. There are other opportunities to win but it’s more important to persevere than lower my expectations. So, here I go, shooting for the moon and hoping I at least land among the stars. (Cliche, I know, but I had to type it.)

I’ve had some wonderful support the past few days, not just from people I know but from other bloggers who are also racing along the tracks towards their own goals. Support means everything in this otherwise solitary endeavor, and it brings to mind just how important being part of a community is. To have people with a common goal rooting for me as I root for them, all of us knowing exactly what the other is going through. It’s fantastic, and I’m lucky to be a part of it.


  1. catherinelumb says:

    I think you’re right to stick to your original goal and aim high, but you also appear realistic enough to know if you don’t make it to 50,000 that it’s not a failure. The great thing I find about NaNo is that it really gives you the chance to just try stuff without worrying about how it will all end and provides that supportive community along the way.
    Keep at it, and you might surprise yourself. Even if you don’t make the final hurdle, you’re still a lot further down the track than when you started.
    Good luck!

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