NaNoWriMo: Reaching the Finish Line
I am delighted to welcome runner and writer Kelly Humphrey as today’s guest blogger. I met Kelly online and have been inspired by her running and her wonderful blog, Run Kelly Run.
by Kelly Humphrey
NaNoWriMo scares me. I only recently learned of the event and, I’ll admit, the concept is intriguing. But I question whether or not I have the discipline it takes to sit down and write 50,000 words in one month. In November, mind you! – which is quite possibly the busiest month of the entire year for me. The feat seems almost herculean.
However, these last two years have taught me to look differently at grand ambitions. My lofty goal last year was to run a half marathon. While it may not seem like much to you active folks out there, it was a mighty bold announcement for someone who weighed almost 300 pounds and had never run more than a mile in her life. But I wanted to become more self-disciplined. I wanted some accountability. And I wanted to cross one more thing off the bucket list. So I started a blog about my journey on Valentine’s Day, 2010.
It wasn’t always pretty. But through the tears and sweat I learned how amazingly strong the human body is. I learned that my mind needed as much training as my body. And I learned that when I was disciplined with my exercise plan, it overflowed into many other areas of my life. In order to fit the training schedules into my week I had to be more organized with my time. When I had a long run that would take me three hours to complete, I had to wake up a little earlier. Even though I was working harder, my days seemed to be running smoother.
I also noticed that I was keeping better track of my bills, grocery shopping more regularly, and making time for weekly lunch dates with my best girlfriend. I’m sure there is some scientist out there who has a good explanation, or some study they are doing right now that will shed some light on why this happens. All I know is that when I stick with the plan each week, I surprise myself with what I can accomplish.
It’s all about taking those big, scary goals and breaking them down into what it takes on a daily level to reach the finish line. I finished that first half marathon. Many people thought I couldn’t. There were times when I thought I couldn’t. But, in the end, each of those countless short runs conditioned my body so I could reach a point where I could run 13.1 miles. Just like the daily writing goals you set will help you achieve that daunting number at the end of the month. So keep up with the plan. And if life gets in the way–because it will get in the way–adjust your plan and move forward. Stay focused on that finish line. It may be painful along the way, but it is SO worth the effort at the end.
So I guess I can’t be afraid of NaNoWriMo anymore. I’ve learned that seemingly insurmountable feats are accomplished through the discipline of much less glamorous daily routines. These daily routines you’ll have until the end of November—those are what will make the difference. My advice: Include a walk or run as part of your daily routine this month. You’ll clear your mind and relieve your body of the stress that computer screen and office chair are inflicting. Don’t think of it as time away from your writing. Think of it as making your writing time more productive. Who knows what else you’ll accomplish by the end of the month!
About the Author. Kelly Humphrey is a mother, a student, a writer, an entrepreneur, and a runner. Find her online at Run Kelly Run.
Great article. Kelly IS an inspiration! If you haven’t read her post about that half marathon she ran (at DISNEY, thankyouverymuch!) on her blog “Run Kelly Run” … you should. It’ll make you laugh AND cry 🙂 … the best kind of stories.
Thanks so much for taking the time to post here, Tami. I really appreciate the compliment. I’m so glad we connected through Twitter and that I’ve found your blog. You have a great writing style all your own!
Rochelle has me thinking of maybe attempting NaNoWriMo next November….hmmm…..perhaps another lofty goal in the works? Perhaps you should jump onboard too 🙂
Yes! And with Write-A-Thon, Kelly, you can do a writing marathon ANY TIME YOU WANT! If you can run a half marathon, you can write a book! 🙂
That is one of my favorite posts on Kelly’s blog–and a goal of mine: to run the half marathon at Disney, the happiest place on earth! 🙂
Thanks for the reminder Kelly. If I can complete a half marathon (and thanks to a great group of friends, you included, I have) then I have the discipline in me somewhere to complete those other tasks on my list. Now I just have to dig deep, again, and find it.
Thanks Katrina! Discipline is an amazing tool. It, alone, can help you reach almost any goal. I long to be more self-disciplined. It doesn’t come easy. But I really love the person I become when I hit those daily goals.
Someone already mentioned this here, but Kelly, YOU forgot to mention what an inspiration you are! You’re smart, funny, and honeybadger tough. I have no doubt you can write 50,000 + words in one month if that’s a goal you’re shooting for. I have to admit, I’m intrigued by that goal too!
Honeybadger? Me? That made me laugh out loud. Maybe a really fluffy honeybadger. I’m totally finding that video on YouTube now so I can channel my inner honeybadger 🙂
Thanks so much for stopping by to comment, Nora. I absolutely think you need to write a book. Your blog posts are seriously some of the most entertaining out there. I’d be first in line to buy whatever you wrote. I say you pick a month next year and make that happen.