How to Keep Going When Your Goals Seem Impossible (& A #NANOWRIMO UPDATE)

We're eleven days into November and National Novel Writing Month.

A lot of writers get behind right around now or (like me) maybe you never got started for whatever reason.

For me, it was already being behind on a ton of things plus getting sick and then both of my kids getting sick one right after the other, plus last-minute editing work (which I was thankful for, actually).

So it’s been almost a month of dealing with all that, and, honestly, feeling like I’ve been behind the entire year.

I was supposed to have an outline done a few days into November, but it’s the 9th as I write this, and I’m just now getting started on it after tons of market research, reading, learning tropes, going through reviews, and doing all the other exercises in Chris Fox’s book, Write to Market.

A day or two into the month, I still wasn’t working on the outline for my book, and a big part of me really became anxious about that. For one, there’s a four-year streak at stake :)

Plus it’s been months since I’ve drafted anything, and I really wanted to use November to get back on track.

Then my thoughts started spiraling down into all kinds of negativity.

  • I should just give up now

  • What’s the point of even trying?

  • I’ve already lost

  • I can’t do it


Then I realized:


What’s the most important thing right now?

Is it to “win” NaNoWriMo?

No, although I want to.

Here’s what’s important (to me right now):

A. That this next series of mine be the absolute best it can be, that it’s set up right so that it sells and gives readers what they want in addition to being a story I love. Because I want to hit this series out of the park and make a full-time living from my fiction.

B. To write some words this month. To start writing again. It may not be 50,000 words, but if I can finish a really solid, detailed outline for the book and the series plus get a good start to the novel (maybe 25,000 words), then I’ll be really happy.

Because at the end of the day, MOVING FORWARD is my goal.

Yes, it will suck if I don't reach the 50K finish line, but it may still be possible if I really work at this and make time.

Here’s the thing: it’s really easy to get sucked into this mentality that is basically a downward spiral into giving up and beating yourself up.

But you can’t think like that.

Especially when you’re behind, you need to make sure you have the right mindset or it’ll be that much harder to get back on track.


To get your mindset in the right place, you need to visualize two things:

  1. You reaching your goal (in this case: reaching 50,000 words or whatever your November goal is)

  2. How you’re going to get there. What will you do every day to reach your goal? Actually picture yourself doing the work and enjoying it (for me: dropping the baby off while my oldest is at school and doing an hour or two of dictating from my finish outline while walking outside).

You’ll be way more likely to reach your goals if you actually visualize both of these things together every day.

And you’ll be surprised at what you can accomplish even when you’re behind.


So when the going starts to get tough, remember that your mindset is key.

If you get negative and put yourself down and tell yourself you’ve already lost, then guess what? You really have.

It’s all about keeping your head in the game, visualizing your success, and then doing the work it’ll take to get there, no matter how impossible it seems.

A lot of the time, we just need to fix our mindset, get started, and then we realize it’s not as hard as it seems.

If you’re only a few days behind on your word count, don’t worry because you can definitely still do this. If you can commit to working extra hard for a few days, you’ll reach your goal for sure.

If you’re like me and you’ve written zero words eleven days in, then realize that maybe you’ll need to come up with a more realistic NaNoWriMo goal, but if you’re determined to get there, know that anything is possible if you set your mind to it and set aside the time to make writing a priority.

It really is up to you and your attitude.

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