Tackling the Big Audacious Goal!

This week on The ADHD Podcast, Coach Nikki helps Pete reframe his experience with shame and goal-setting in preparation for his Big Audacious Goal: National Novel Writing Month 2021!

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It’s NANOWRIMO TIME! Every year, writers of all sorts come together to contribute to the writing madness that is National Novel Writing Month. The goal: write 50,000 words toward a novel in 30 days. Pete has been participating in NaNoWriMo in some fashion or another since 2003 and will once again be picking up the pen on November 1 to write another book. And…

It’s hard. Really hard. Today on the show we thought we’d use this opportunity to talk about Big Audacious Goals (BAGs) … how are they different from work projects? How do you set yourself up for success? How do you prioritize something that’s important to you when you’re the only one who actually cares about it?

The approach is a little different this week. Pete is going under the guidance of Coach Nikki to reframe his experience with goal setting, shame, and what it means to be successful. We hope the demonstration with a real life project that Pete cares about a lot is a good example for how you might tackle your own Big Audacious Goals!

And if you’re interested in joining us for the NaNoWriMo write this year, make sure you join us in Discord and introduce yourself in the #nanowrimo-2021 channel! The channel is in the public area in the community server so you don’t have to be a supporting patron to join.

Episode Transcript

Brought to you by The ADHD Podcast Community on Patreon

Pete Wright: Hello, everybody. And welcome to The ADHD Podcast on trustory.fm. I’m Pete Wright, and I’m here with Nikki Kinzer.

Nikki Kinzer: Hello everyone. Hello, Pete Wright is a writer.

Pete Wright: Oh, hi Nikki. Hi Nikki. It’s Pete a writer.

Nikki Kinzer: You’re a writer, Pete Wright. You like that?

Pete Wright: Oh, I’m excited about this topic today.

Nikki Kinzer: You like that segue to… Yeah.

Pete Wright: I do. I do. I was going to change the spelling of my name, officially, but only after I published my, my great work.

Nikki Kinzer: Your great work.

Pete Wright: The great-

Nikki Kinzer: That’s right.

Pete Wright: … work.

Nikki Kinzer: That’s right. We’re waiting.

Pete Wright: So am I. You got a conversation on big, audacious goals, bags. It’s a bag. I’m going to try and make that work. I think I just have to commit to the bag, and say it a lot, in order for it to really take off.

Nikki Kinzer: Big, audicious goal.

Pete Wright: Audacious goal.

Nikki Kinzer: Audacious goal. Big audacious-

Pete Wright: Audacious.

Nikki Kinzer: … goal. Big audacious goal.

Pete Wright: It’s the bag.

Nikki Kinzer: It’s the bag.

Pete Wright: It’s a bag.

Nikki Kinzer: I like it.

Pete Wright: Yeah, so that’ll be-

Nikki Kinzer: I kind of like that.

Pete Wright: … a new tag on the website. You do?

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah, I do, actually.

Pete Wright: Yeah. I can’t wait to hear what kind of bag you have? What sort of bag are you carrying?

Nikki Kinzer: You know what it is?

Pete Wright: You’ve got a big bag, Nikki Kinzer.

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah, I do. Yes.

Pete Wright: All right, so before we tip off the ball-

Nikki Kinzer: The bags.

Pete Wright: … for today’s bag show, I’m pretty excited about this show, obviously. Before we do that, head over to takecontroladhd.com. You can get to know us a little bit better. You can listen to the show right there on the website. Or subscribe to the mailing list, and we’ll send you an email each time a new episode is released. You can connect with us on Twitter or Facebook at Take Control ADHD.

Pete Wright: And if this show has ever touched you or helped you make a change in your life for the better, you know what you could do, you could join the community. You could come hang out with us in our very special Discord server, and talk all about ADHD with people who love talking all about ADHD. But because they have ADHD, they also love talking about a lot of other things. It is an incredibly diverse and varied group.

Pete Wright: It is one of my favorite places on the internet. It is not polluted with other things that you might find elsewhere on the internet. It’s just good, kind people helping other good, kind people. And it’s a really fun place to be. So head over to patreon.com/theadhdpodcast, that’s where you join. That’s where you become a member. And once you do that, you connect your Discord account and it’ll sync you up. And then when you go to Discord, you’ll have the magic set of channels with all the people that I was just talking about, the good, kind people, they’re in there. We would love to see you there. And we have this new tier, this new goal that we’re shooting for, and as we record this, we are two people shy of our goal.

Nikki Kinzer: Two-

Pete Wright: I can’t-

Nikki Kinzer: … people.

Pete Wright: … believe it.

Nikki Kinzer: Two people.

Pete Wright: Two people. Two people puts us over the edge, and Pete’s going to start a new podcast, Placeholder, currently called Placeholder. It may forever be called Placeholder, constantly living in the void of uncertainty. That’s Pete’s new podcast, just for members, and we’ve decided to make it available for all members.

Nikki Kinzer: That’s right.

Pete Wright: If you’re a member at any level, Pete’s podcast, placeholder, living in the void of uncertainty. Maybe that’s the subtitle now. Maybe I’ve just figured out-

Nikki Kinzer: Maybe.

Pete Wright: … Pete, in a void of uncertainty.

Nikki Kinzer: I kind of like it.

Pete Wright: Clearly.,, Yeah. Oh yeah. I think it’s-

Nikki Kinzer: Of course.

Pete Wright: … coming together. This is the kind of blue sky ideation that we need every week to keep pushing the ball forward.

Nikki Kinzer: That’s right.

Pete Wright: A lot of ball and bag metaphors going on today. Okay. That’s it patreon.com/theadhdpodcast. Thank you everybody for supporting this show. It means the world to us. We, literally, could not do anything that we do without your support. So if you haven’t decided yet that you want to become a supporter, we encourage you to see if you can, if you’re in a place to support, please help out it. It helps us continue to grow and create more resources for new members and old of members alike. So we sure appreciate it, thank you very, very much. And now, let’s nano.

Nikki Kinzer: Nano, nano.

Pete Wright: You like the Mork from Ork references.

Nikki Kinzer: I really do. I was talking to a client about this the other day, because he’s a writer, and I said, "Oh, you should a nano nano thing." And, of course, he knew what I was talking about because he’s a writer, and writers probably know about nano nano. But he started laughing, too. And then he made another comment about Mork and Mindy that I thought it was funny. So yeah, nano nano.

Pete Wright: Yes, so this is where this came from, NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo is-

Nikki Kinzer: NaNoWriMo.

Pete Wright: … the official concatenation of the title of the event, it is national novel writing month, once again. You can find out more at nanowrimo.org. NanoWriMo is a nonprofit organization that helps cultivate the arts. And they do this through this giant event every year, where crazy people like me and others in our community join together and write 50,000 words, at least, toward a novel sized project in the month of November. And so November, a lot of ink is spilled-

Nikki Kinzer: So-

Pete Wright: … proverbially-

Nikki Kinzer: … my first question is-

Pete Wright: Yes.

Nikki Kinzer: … what is 50,000 words? What does that look like in a book?

Pete Wright: A short story is under 500 words, that can be described as flash fiction, between 1,000 and 8,000 is a short story, between 5,000 and 10,000 is a long, short story. All right, so that’s 10,000. Anything between 10 and 40,000 words is considered a novella, right?

Nikki Kinzer: Got it.

Pete Wright: And once you get into novel, it’s anything more than 40,000 words, that’s considered novel sized. Anything above 110,000 words is when publishers start to say, "Yeah, you need to tighten it up a little bit," because now it’s getting so long that it’s hard to publish, and you might consider breaking the book up into two, et cetera. But science fiction and fantasy books tend to be upwards of 120, 30, 40,000 words. They tend to be long, epic things. Romance novels are usually between 50 and a 100,000 words, real page turners kind of things. But it really, anything more than 40,000 words is novel size. So 50,000 words-

Nikki Kinzer: Is a novel.

Pete Wright: … is a legit novel.

Nikki Kinzer: I mean, that’s-

Pete Wright: You’re writing a novel. Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: That’s a lot. Oh, my gosh. Okay. Well, no wonder we’re talking about this as a bag.

Pete Wright: It’s a bag. It’s a total bag.

Nikki Kinzer: It really is.

Pete Wright: It is a total bag. And, for me, it’s my bag right now. It’s my bag baby. And so I wanted to talk about NaNoWriMo as a vehicle by which we discuss bags. Because this has some differences around from just like, oh, it’s a big work project. Yeah, the project is a project. It actually has a defined end date. I know it’s just another project. But this is different. This is a little bit different. And it’s different the way we approach it, I think with ADHD. And it’s certainly different the way I’ve approached in the past. I’ve been doing NaNoWriMo since 2003. Mm. And I don’t think I’ve taken many years off. There are a handful of years off. I consider it a success when I reach the word goal, and I get to the end, right?

Nikki Kinzer: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Pete Wright: So I have a number of novels where I succeed in the eyes of NaNoWriMo. I hit the 50,000 word mark, but I don’t finish the book, and that’s a real problem for me. I don’t count that a success. So I am not 18 wins for 18 years. I’ve only actually consider myself having won NaNoWriMo three times, where I wrote the book, I hit the word count or exceeded the word count, and I got to write the end. So-

Nikki Kinzer: So-

Pete Wright: … I have a lot of stuff out there that’s just hanging, because-

Nikki Kinzer: Well-

Pete Wright: … you know me, I finished the goal, and once the goal is done, November 30th rolls around, I’m done.

Nikki Kinzer: Yes.

Pete Wright: My brain moves on.

Nikki Kinzer: So I am a coach, and I’m putting my-

Pete Wright: I heard this.

Nikki Kinzer: … coaching hat on.

Pete Wright: This is why I want you here.

Nikki Kinzer: Yes.

Pete Wright: Yes. Okay.

Nikki Kinzer: And one of the things-

Pete Wright: Teach me.

Nikki Kinzer: … that I would want you to reframe or think about reframing is. What does success mean?

Pete Wright: Nikki, it’s like, you’re reading ahead on my notes. That’s like the last point that I had for you. And I even wrote it in bold. Are you cheating now?

Nikki Kinzer: No.

Pete Wright: Or did you just coach me?

Nikki Kinzer: I just coached you.

Pete Wright: I have just legit been coach.

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah.

Pete Wright: Okay. This is a great place to start. I don’t know why I put it at the very end. How do you set your personal bar for success, when there is no one else telling you what success means? That is one of the fundamental differences of this bag, for me, because it’s just something I want to do. No one else cares. No one else cares about what I’m doing. It’s something that’s important to me. It is time limited. It’s a great big, audacious goal, but no one cares. I have set success, I think maybe too hard on myself.

Nikki Kinzer: And what makes you say that?

Pete Wright: NaNoWriMo at its purest is, did you hit 50,000 words? Were able to write 1667 words a day? And if you were able to do that, then you accomplished something great. And it doesn’t matter what those words are. Just vomit the words on the page, and you’ve succeeded.

Nikki Kinzer: So I’m hearing you say that there’s nothing on nano nano that, and you know, I’m going to keep saying that. So-

Pete Wright: I do. I do. It’s all right.

Nikki Kinzer: Okay. So there is nothing on nano nano that says to succeed at this, I don’t even know if you would call it a challenge, but this bag-

Pete Wright: That’s a challenge. Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah. Yeah. You have to finish the novel. Nowhere does it say that?

Pete Wright: No, no one-

Nikki Kinzer: No one says that.

Pete Wright: … nowhere does it say that.

Nikki Kinzer: So it really just-

Pete Wright: No one has said that.

Nikki Kinzer: … says 50,000. Okay. So what I want you to think about then is reframe what success will look like for you this year.

Pete Wright: Okay. I think, for me, it’s hard to let go of those. I know that success is, I want to achieve the goal of hitting that word count of 50,000 words again, because that’s important to me. That is a thing that’s important to me in this personal project, is do what is written. I would not do it if it was… I’m not one who goes through and says, "Oh, I want to participate in this thing, because I love the community." And it doesn’t quite matter if I reframe. I’m sort of a purist. I always start with a brand new project. I start with a blank page, and I have to hit or exceed 50,000 words. That’s step one. That’s success.

Nikki Kinzer: Which you have been successful, right? So I just want to-

Pete Wright: I have been successful many-

Nikki Kinzer: Yes.

Pete Wright: … years running. Yeah. Yep.

Nikki Kinzer: So I want to make sure you’re very aware of that. You have been very successful in many, many years.

Pete Wright: Right.

Nikki Kinzer: Okay.

Pete Wright: But I have also added that corollary in the past to say, "Okay, I also have to finish a book, meaning, the end, at the end of the book. It has to be a complete story. And I’ve done that to sort of protect myself from feeling too complacent in letting the job go unfinished, because I have way more examples of not being successful, because of exactly what I’m most afraid of, that I’m going to get to the end November 30th, and my brain will move on to other things. I’ll lose the hyper focus. I’ll lose the energy behind it. And I won’t go back and actually edit the book or go through the motions. My end goal, eventually, is to take one of these projects and actually submit it for publishing, and sell it, and put it out into the world. And I have yet to do that for any of them. They’re all just there.

Nikki Kinzer: Okay. Okay. So your fear is that you’re going to get to the end of November and you’re going to drop the project.

Pete Wright: Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: Okay.

Pete Wright: Because I’ve done that so many times before. I’ve conditioned myself to believing this about myself.

Nikki Kinzer: Right. And that’s something we have to challenge. I want to go back to the, what does success look like for you this year? What will it look like for you this year? Just to get to the word count? Is that it? Or what else?

Pete Wright: Well, that would be at it’s very basic, but I still haven’t quite figured out if I’m at a place, where, letting go of that ultimate goal of actually finishing the story is as important as it needs to be. It’s scary to me to have another unfinished book.

Nikki Kinzer: So what if you do get of the end of the month, and it’s unfinished?

Pete Wright: Yeah. I don’t know. What I want to say, the picture that I want to paint for myself is, if it’s not finished, I need a NanoEdMo December, like NaNoWriMo December. I need to just keep going. And maybe that’s what I need to say, is that at some point… I have one goal, which is, I’m going to be with the community and I’m going to do that 50,000 words in November.

Pete Wright: But further than that, I have a secondary goal, which is, I need to finish the book, and maybe I don’t do that in November. Maybe I do that before New Year or something like that. Because that is a part… As we’re talking about it, I feel like I’m led in two directions. It’s like the ultimate coin toss. I can call heads or tails, but I know how I really feel, if it lands on heads, and I really, really am heartbroken that it’s not tails. Do you know what I mean?

Nikki Kinzer: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Pete Wright: And so I keep trying, in my heart here, trying to say, "Okay, Nikki, I’m going to let go of the finished part of the book. I’m just going to let it go." But I can’t let that go. I don’t want to let that go. It feels like that’s too important to me. So I want success to be, I’m going to meet the community goal of 50,000 words in November, and I’m going to finish the book, finish draft one, and get to the end of a viable story, maybe it’s before the end of the year, if I haven’t done it in November.

Nikki Kinzer: Right. Okay. So-

Pete Wright: Because the last thing I want is another like 90,000 words that doesn’t end in the end, and I have those.

Nikki Kinzer: And what makes that important to you? So when you say, "I don’t want this to happen," why? What is making that so important to you that you extend it for another month?

Pete Wright: Because of the satisfaction of giving someone else a completed story to read, to get enjoyment out of. It is fulfilling to me of write something that others can enjoy. And I don’t believe giving somebody an unfinished work has as much value. If I’m going to do it, it needs to resolve. It needs to resolve in a way that’s satisfying to me. And, ideally, down the road, it’s something I can crack open again and edit and publish. That’s my ultimate goal with all these fiction pieces is, eventually, to publish them.

Nikki Kinzer: So I’m going to step one step backwards, when you were talking about, in the past, because I don’t really like to talk about the past, that’s not really the role of a coach, but I want us to learn from it. And so, one of the things I want to know from you is, what has happened at the end of November in the past that had you stop writing?

Pete Wright: This is the ADHD stuff. This is where, I think, I have in the past struggled with my momentum. During the month of November, I can get into that super hyper focused mode, that I am not eating, and I’m writing a lot, and turning out 12, 15, 18 pages a day. And I am feeling really great about that progress, but I’m really single focused, and not terribly balanced. And it’s not terribly healthy, certainly, for my family and my participation in it. But then when November 30th comes around, I end up changing gears, and the distraction that I have been able to fight off with hyper focus for the last 30 days, all comes back at once, and I realize all the stuff I’ve missed. And then I never come back to the project.

Nikki Kinzer: Oh, interesting. So you actually will, on December 1st, then feel almost like, I’m behind on-

Pete Wright: Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: … other things-

Pete Wright: Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: … because I’ve hyper focused so much on this one project. Okay. So-

Pete Wright: That’s right.

Nikki Kinzer: … then, for this year, for November of 2021, is there anything that you want to change on the way that you approach nano nano?

Pete Wright: I’ll get used to it. Yeah, I think so. And the first is, I feel like I need to really reengage a community around those of us who are doing the writing. And we’ll talk about more of the stuff we’re doing in our own community around that. But, for me, I think, the act of having accountability buddies who are doing the same thing, helps me build a framework around my days. So I don’t end up writing from 10:00 to 1:00 in the morning, 10:00 at night to 1:00 in the morning, when I’m actually able to do the work in a scheduled place and time that is rational.

Pete Wright: Because I know I can write pretty quickly. I know, I don’t struggle like getting over that 300 word hump. I know I can churn out words. But it’s when my body decides that this is the time to do it, and I need external support and stimulus to do that. I need to have write ins. I need to have meetings. I need to have people that I’m doing this with, who are also sharing their strategies, right?

Nikki Kinzer: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Pete Wright: That’s really important to me. That makes it important in the world, not just in my head and heart, so that’s number one. And I think it’s kind of that Ocean’s 11 thing, you’re sort of building the team, right?

Nikki Kinzer: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Pete Wright: If nano nano is a heist movie, you’re building the team, and I need to have people who have different tastes in music than I do for recommendations and different schedules. I need to have people around the world who have different schedules and are writing at different times, so I can glom onto them and say, "Okay, let’s turn Zoom and start cranking out some words," any time of the day, when it happens. So that I can then structure and say, "After eight o’clock at night, I’m going to be with my family. I’m going to be playing some games. I’m not going to be completely obsessed by this." So it goes into the daily habits and rituals piece that we’ve talked about in the past. And it’s hard to do that for me, because it’s a short time. It’s it is time limited. Because at the 30th, the game is up, the gig is up.

Nikki Kinzer: However, we’re reframing that, because, for you, it’s not.

Pete Wright: Yes, we are. You’s right. You’re right. You’re right. Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah. For you, it’s not over. So you’re saying, for this year, you really want to build a community around this. You really want to have some accountability. You want some diversity around it. You want people that aren’t writing like you, or the same topics. You want to have different ideas and people collaborating, right?

Pete Wright: Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: And I also heard you say, have a little bit more balance in your life, so that it doesn’t overtake your family. Because one of my thoughts is that when we do something like this and we’re so focused on it, I don’t know, I mean, is there some burnout at the end, too, that you’re dealing with?

Pete Wright: Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: Right. Like, "Oh my God-

Pete Wright: Exhaustion.

Nikki Kinzer: … I don’t want to do this anymore."

Pete Wright: Straight up.

Nikki Kinzer: So if there’s a way for you to pull back maybe the number of hours or how intense you are on it, might help, right? Going into December.

Pete Wright: I think so. And I’m really interested in that whole idea of like, what gives you energy? How do you re-energize in the middle of this big, audacious thing? How do you keep up enough energy to get through the day, on whatever the project is, whether it’s writing or building something or whatever? What is it that actually fuels you? And I think, it has been a while since I had a daily writing ritual, even now, because I have a rigorous daily podcasting ritual.

Nikki Kinzer: Right. Right. That you do for a job. Yeah.

Pete Wright: Yeah. And being able to turn that off and still have the energy to get that work done, while mustering enough for this new thing, that I have said in, again, my head and heart, is important to me. This is important to me to do.

Nikki Kinzer: Again, as a ADHD coach and just as a friend, I think it’s one of those things that you are going to want to keep thinking about, why this is important to you? Why is this important to you to carve this space in time? Not only in November, but also going into the end of the year. And, Pete, I want you to be open to it, even going beyond that. Because with ADHD, it’s very easy to think that you can get something done sooner than what you really can. And so even if it’s a rough draft, my guess, is that you’re still going to want to pick apart that rough draft before you even feel like it’s a rough draft. So-

Pete Wright: Yeah, probably.

Nikki Kinzer: … I would suggest asking you to definitely think about, why this is important? What do you want to write about? Because it has to be something that excites you, and it has to be something that’s going to excite you even after November 30th, right? So-

Pete Wright: Yes.

Nikki Kinzer: … you want it to be something that you’re really passionate about, because, again, with ADHD, that passion’s really important. The other thing that I would say is, finding out what’s important, why it’s important, and to keep the energy, that’s a really good question. When do you lack energy? Tell me that, what happens when you feel like you don’t have the energy?

Pete Wright: That’s an interesting question, right around the end of week two, you start looking your overall word count curve, and you start thinking, okay, this is a lot. And it feels like a lot. And I’m at a point in the story where I have to start thinking about kind of how to build intensity. And my brain starts really dealing with that hyper focus. And as a result, I’ll have longer sessions, where I’m sitting at a coffee shop or sitting over the laptop, and not actually with fingers on keyboard. And other things start to suffer, because I have to start making some real choices about how I use my time. And getting mired in that, is sort of the danger zone, because podcasts might not be edited, right?

Nikki Kinzer: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Pete Wright: Or something else, I might drop the ball on driving commitments, or I never got to the grocery store, and the family’s counting on me. Those are the things that I start to notice, but only too late. That’s where I feel like the ADHD sort of takes over, and doesn’t let me see clearly through the veil of the struggle that I’m dealing with right now on this thing that I’ve said is so important to me.

Pete Wright: There’s a sort of inflexibility that comes with commitment to this kind of a project. And I don’t think I’m alone. I think there are-

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah, sure.

Pete Wright: … anybody who’s committed to something like to a bag, is somebody who has to kind of put down the veil in order to get it done, but at what cost? And I think that’s the struggle, the energetic struggle and the commitment struggle at what cost.

Nikki Kinzer: Right. Yeah, you’re definitely not alone. And at what cost? That’s a really good point. And I think that one of the things that, if people are listening to this, and I would even encourage you, Pete, it might be a little harder for you, because you’re very set in stone of this has to be 50,000 words, but one of the-

Pete Wright: Oh yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: … things that I would say to other people is, just because nano nano says it’s 50,000 words in 30 days, doesn’t necessarily mean it really has to be 50,000 words in 30 days. You can tweak these challenges to work for you, to make them more realistic. So if you don’t have the time and space to spend a lot of daily time on this, because you really don’t, maybe you have a job that is 8:00 to 5:00, clock in clock out. I have dinner I have to do for kids. The only time I’m going to write is in the evening, or early morning, it may not be reasonable. And you want to set yourself up for success, not disappointment.

Nikki Kinzer: So one of the things I would say is just because a challenge is set like that doesn’t mean it has to be set for you. You can tweak it to be your own thing. However, when you do do that, whether it’s 50,000 or any word count, planning, you got to plan for it. You are putting something new into your life that you haven’t had. And you’re probably already busy, right?

Pete Wright: Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: You are already busy. So you have to make the time to make this happen, which is why the passion behind it has to be really important for the ADHD mind. So it really has to be something you want to do. And it really has to be something that you’re writing about that you really care a lot about.

Pete Wright: Yeah, right.

Nikki Kinzer: And then I would say the planning, you had written in your… and I haven’t even looked at your notes, Pete. So I know here you’ve said, daily habits and rituals and daily goals. And I know you probably, initially, thought we were going to break this down for you, and we still can. But I think that that is a really important thing, when you are doing something like this, what are the habits and rituals that you have to put in place? And it could be more of just a day-to-day basis. Like, okay, maybe we split the 50,000 into what, how many words is that per day, if you do 30 days?

Pete Wright: 1667.

Nikki Kinzer: 1667. Okay. So maybe you can’t do it every day, but you can do more on the weekend. You have to look at your schedule and think, when can I fit this in, because I may not be able to do it every day? But if you have Friday afternoons off and you are really excited about doing this, then you’re going to want to go do it. And you may get more than the 667, or whatever it is that you said, during that day. So it’s planning, I think looking ahead at, yes, have milestones and goals, but you also have to look at that day, and figure out what can I do to a day and work around that.

Nikki Kinzer: And you’re going to have to put the structures in place to keep you focused on other stuff. Because what I’m hearing you say is that, not only are you fearing about not finishing it, but you’re also fearing a little bit about I’m going to let everything else go. So we-

Pete Wright: Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: … already know that that’s a big fear of yours, so we need to figure out what is it that’s going to help you figure out how to not let that happen? Or at least not let it happen to the extent that’s happened in the past, so it could be certain times that you’re writing, and then it could be boundaries that you work with your family and you say to your family, "I don’t want to work Friday nights," because I know that Pete Wright and his family have pizza night and movie night together.

Pete Wright: Movie night. That’s right.

Nikki Kinzer: So they’re going to say, "No, you can’t do it Friday night."

Pete Wright: Yeah. You can’t do that. Well, and this is really interesting. And I think it’s an interesting measure that is maybe unique to this particular bag, that there is a word count keeping score. And I started thinking, this year, because sometimes I’ll go a day or two where I get busy and I don’t write, and I don’t write, because I’m busy producing stuff and doing other things for work work. But I sort of feel like I need to put all of the different sort of scaffolding, like the alarm scaffolding, alerts reminding me to jot down a few notes, to keep my head sort of in the story to keep the back of the mind kind of cranking every day. Because there is an accrued debt that you can watch, right?

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah.

Pete Wright: And they have the graph. There’s a graph on the website, the word tracker. And it’ll actually tell you where you are, next to the average, where you should be in order to hit 50,000. And if you skip a day it’s okay, maybe you write 3200 words the next day. But if you skip two days, suddenly, you’re into the four or 5,000 word range before, long that you have to catch up on. And that is a certain pacing pressure.

Nikki Kinzer: Well, yes, and it is, because that’s that pressure that your ADHD mind is looking at, and you’re thinking I’m not enough, I mean, I’m not doing enough. I’m not doing enough. I am failing. So then it goes into this very quick, easy, downward spiral of, this isn’t working. This isn’t going to work. What have I done? And what I want people to think about is, yeah, I understand why they do the tracking, and why they want to keep you at a certain pace.

Nikki Kinzer: But I also want people to think about like, this is not an all or nothing thing. If you haven’t done the word count, that doesn’t mean you haven’t succeeded. It doesn’t mean that you’re not on your way. And so it’s really, I think, curving that all or nothing thinking, because it’s so easy to say, "Well, I’m not where I should be. So I’m not doing this right." Nano nano people are not… I mean, they’re experts maybe, but they’re not like experts on you. They don’t-

Pete Wright: Right. That’s true.

Nikki Kinzer: … know how you work.

Pete Wright: Yeah. They don’t know how I work. They don’t know how I work. And that is the real conundrum with a bag, right?

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah.

Pete Wright: That I think is transferable. That I’m the only one doing it. I’m the only one for whom participation, ultimately, matters. No one else… You don’t care, as a friend, maybe you support me, but, ultimately, you don’t care. And more often than not, I’m the only one to celebrate, or in this case, read the final product, until it gets to a point that I’m happy enough to actually try to get it out there. So-

Nikki Kinzer: Which is why your community is so important to you.

Pete Wright: Yes.

Nikki Kinzer: Right?

Pete Wright: Yes.

Nikki Kinzer: That’s why you want that community. That’s why you want that Discord channel, is you want other people to be on this journey with you and you want to be able to celebrate each person’s success. Because I can guarantee you that, if you talk to somebody in Discord, who’s doing this with you, and they didn’t hit the 50,000 mark, what would you say to them?

Pete Wright: I would say, "It’s all right. You showed up and that’s the most important part."

Nikki Kinzer: You got started, didn’t you?

Pete Wright: Oh, dammit Nikki. Oh.

Nikki Kinzer: Thank you. Mic drop. My work is done. I love what I do.

Pete Wright: Okay. All right.

Nikki Kinzer: I just love it.

Pete Wright: All right. You win this round Kinzer.

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah. Well-

Pete Wright: I mean, it’s a great point. And it is an excellent mic drop moment, because, I mean, that’s a thing, it just demonstrates so clearly, when I’m being too hard on myself.

Nikki Kinzer: Absolutely. And everybody is too hard on themselves. And it-

Pete Wright: But in this case, there is that little voice-

Nikki Kinzer: Yes.

Pete Wright: … on your shoulder, that little devil on your shoulder that says, "If I’m not hard on myself, who will?" In the case of a bag, if I don’t muster that kind of energy, how will I ever get it done? Because I know how my-

Nikki Kinzer: Oh, but that’s such-

Pete Wright: … ADHD works.

Nikki Kinzer: … negative energy that is so-

Pete Wright: I know.

Nikki Kinzer: … negative. And that’s why you have to fight that and say, "No, you know what? I’m going to be happy I showed up. I’m going to be happy that I did the best that I could. I’m going to be happy that I took these people with me on Discord. That I put this channel together so we could all be supported. I’m going to be happy about that." And you’re going to be happy that… because I don’t know what nano nano like thinks… I don’t know anything about why they started this and you probably do. But I have a hunch that it was probably to encourage writers to get started writing, and to maybe get into a regular practice. Because I’m not a writer, you are, and I’m guessing that, when you write every day or you write pretty consistently, that’s a good thing.

Pete Wright: Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: Right? And so my-

Pete Wright: Yep.

Nikki Kinzer: … thought is, they’re getting you started. And because they don’t say anything about, "Oh, it has to be a completed project." It’s all about getting started, which is also a huge executive function that is really difficult for ADHD, so this is a really positive thing.

Pete Wright: Can I read you so some things here? Which I hate that I’m reading them, because it’s really just supports you, and because you have too many points on the board already, but I’m going to do it.

Nikki Kinzer: Okay. Go ahead.

Pete Wright: About NaNoWriMo, it’s a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that believes in the transformational power of creativity. We provide the structure community and encouragement to help people find their voices, achieve creative goals, and build new worlds, on and off the page. Began in 1999 as a daunting, but straightforward challenge, to write 50,000 words of a novel in 30 days. Now each year, on November 1st, hundreds of thousands of people around the world begin to write determined to end the month with 50,000 words of a brand new novel. They enter the month as elementary school teachers, mechanics, or stay-at-home parents, they leave novelists. At no point in there does it say, "They’ve finished and published a 50,000 word novel."

Nikki Kinzer: No.

Pete Wright: It just says, "They’ve come to get to do something to create a new world. And they write 50,000 words of a brand new novel."

Nikki Kinzer: Yes. So that’s really the only thing that I hear as the kind of criteria, is they want it to be a brand new novel. But you know what, I would say, hey, if you have a novel that you did two or three or five years ago that you haven’t finished yet, Pete, and you really want to, bring that into nano nano this year. You make up your rules.

Pete Wright: Yes. Yes. I get to make up that rule.

Nikki Kinzer: Yes. You get to make up your own rules.

Pete Wright: Yeah. Really, all of this whole event, it is an event designed to further education in the literary arts. It is for kids. It’s for classrooms. It’s a nonprofit designed to… And if my 50,000 words of whatever project that is, contributes to it, so much the better. This is going to be a hard pivot for me, but I’m excited about it.

Nikki Kinzer: You know what?

Pete Wright: I get it.

Nikki Kinzer: Change is uncomfortable.

Pete Wright: Yeah. Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: But it’s worth it.

Pete Wright: I think I’m still a little bit of a hard liner on the 50,000 words thing, just because-

Nikki Kinzer: And that’s fine.

Pete Wright: … I’ve done it for so many years.

Nikki Kinzer: That’s fine. I mean, you have-

Pete Wright: But I-

Nikki Kinzer: … totally

Pete Wright: … think I hear some places I can give in a little bit. Well, to that point, in terms of building community, I am still very excited about building community. And in fact, we have a couple of other new nanos. Ellie in the community is a former municipal liaison, she’s been doing Nano for a long time too. And has way too much to do. I’ll be honest.

Nikki Kinzer: She really… yeah.

Pete Wright: She’s just a very busy person, but she’s going to take another stab at it this year. And we put together the NaNoWriMo 2021 Channel in Discord, and it is a public channel. It’s in our public community. You don’t have to be a member of one of our Patreon tiers to get to it. It’s just in there. There’s just now general chat and NaNoWriMo 2021. So if there are any other writers in our community, come in there and share your story, and think about jumping in and getting started.

Pete Wright: So as this episode goes out, it is October 2nd, and that means-

Nikki Kinzer: November 2nd.

Pete Wright: Sorry, November 2nd. And that means NaNoWriMo just started yesterday-

Nikki Kinzer: That’s right.

Pete Wright: … as you’re hearing this. And so it is absolutely not too late to jump in-

Nikki Kinzer: Nope.

Pete Wright: … and play along with us, and share your writing goals. We might some Zoom write ins. We might show up and bomb study hall. I don’t know. There will be lots of different-

Nikki Kinzer: I would love that.

Pete Wright: … opportunities to write together.

Nikki Kinzer: Oh, my gosh, that would be so cool to have a bunch of people just typing and writing.

Pete Wright: Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: Writing on my novel.

Pete Wright: … just having a big writing thing.

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah. That’s awesome.

Pete Wright: Yeah. Working on the novel. So that’s the idea, NaNoWriMo 2021, in the official ADHD Discord server.

Nikki Kinzer: I love it.

Pete Wright: Jump in there, please. We’d love to see you there.

Nikki Kinzer: So we’re going to have to do a follow-up, Pete, because I am going to want to hear how it goes. And so that also-

Pete Wright: Yeah, we might have to do a Nano check in each week, as we move forward.

Nikki Kinzer: We’re going to have to do a little Nano check in, and then I definitely want us to talk about it at the end, because I think this is really important, because you are going to be looking at this in a different way. And I will be really interested to see what your journey’s like along the way, and if it’s different this time than it was in the past. And I think our listeners are going to be really curious, too, because this could be a really important example of how you can shift your mindset on something, and have it really serve you instead of it being this naggy thing. Because this needs to be fun, this is fun. This is creative. This is cool. You want to be excited about it. Not shameful, not ashamed.

Pete Wright: Right.

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah.

Pete Wright: Right. Yeah. And you just said it, I think often, it’s the shame that fuels the excitement, like a really negative feedback loop, right?

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah.

Pete Wright: Like I’m excited to conquer something negative, and there might be some of that in there still, but it doesn’t need to be. It can just be fueled by the creative endeavor itself.

Nikki Kinzer: And you’ve-

Pete Wright: Oh, goodness.

Nikki Kinzer: … got a cheerleader here. And everybody in-

Pete Wright: Yeah, right.

Nikki Kinzer: … Discord, all of our listeners, we are going to cheer all those nano nanos on.

Pete Wright: Cheer on the nano nanos.

Nikki Kinzer: Yes.

Pete Wright: Cheer on the nano nanos. Well done.

Nikki Kinzer: Any other bag-

Pete Wright: All right.

Nikki Kinzer: … that you’ve got going on?

Pete Wright: Bring on the bags. Yeah. We’ll support all the bags.

Nikki Kinzer: That’s right.

Pete Wright: All the great bags. All right. Hey, thank you, Nikki, as always, coach.

Nikki Kinzer: You’re very welcome.

Pete Wright: You’re brilliant. Yeah, this is great. We appreciate all of you listening to this, for downloading, listening to the show, coming back week after week, bringing your bags. Thanks for your time and your attention. Don’t forget, if you have something to contribute to this conversation, we’re heading over to the show talk channel in our Discord server, and you can join us right there by becoming a supporting member at the deluxe level. On behalf of Nikki Kinzer, I’m Pete Wright, and we’ll see you right back here next week on Taking Control: The ADHD Podcast.

Through Taking Control: The ADHD Podcast, Nikki Kinzer and Pete Wright strive to help listeners with support, life management strategies, and time and technology tips, dedicated to anyone looking to take control of their lives in the face ADHD.