Tag Archive | NaNoWriMo

Moving Right Along

The last time I blogged, NaNoWriMo was nearly here.  We are now thirteen days in and the writing is going well.  My usual goal is 2000-2500 words a day, so NaNo’s goal of 1667 words a day is easily achieveable.

On a good day.  This is November, so of course, there are distractions, storms, and doctor appointments.  To say nothing of Thanksgiving and the need to do Christmas baking so it can be sent.

I find this takes ruthless planning.  I write from 9 am to 1 pm, go and bake, cook dinner, and come back from 7-10 to get my words in.  Most days I can get them in by 1 pm and have the evenings free, but last night it took me ALL DAY to get in 2566 words.  it was like pulling teeth.  I knew what would happen, was giggling my way through the scene, but what was in my head would not come out on the screen.  It was definitely like giving birth: long, slow, and painful.

I liked what I got, though, so I’m happy.

For many writers, NaNoWriMo feels more intense than our normal writing, probably because we who do it have set goals, some like one of my friends, are really high — she wants to write 100K words this month!  Wow, you go, girl.  I’m enjoying watching her word count mount each day.  Another friend successfully finished her 50,000 words in eight days!  I am content to do my 50,000 words by the time Thanksgiving gets here, because after that, I have company which is more important than writing.  People always are.

Another reason for the intensity is some of us challenge ourselves to see how many words we’re capable of in a month.  This is good, I think. I look at NaNo as a marathon.  Some people will naturally run from the front of the pack, others in the middle, pacing themselves, and some will fall off the back.  The fact that they entered and ran is good, no matter if they finish or not.

I’m a pacer.  I hit 22,750 words last night.  I’m ahead of the curve by a few hundred words.  That’s really all I want.  I don’t want to feel too stressed.  I need to stay within myself for health and stress reasons, so I’m writing as I normally do: 2000 words every day.  Takes all the stress out.  The novel I’m writing will be done before I hit the 50K word mark.  I’m writing the last “half” for NaNo.  If I get done early, I’ll write a series of short stories to add to the word count.

I’m enjoying NaNo this year.  As usual, my characters surprise me.  I had one throw a twist into the storyline I hadn’t seen coming.  Hmm.  Not what I thought he was.  I was left wondering if there was another twist coming, and there is.  I can see it glimmering out at the end.  I’m still not sure how it will all fall out, but when it does it will make logical sense to the characters (and I hope, to the readers, too).  I don’t plot a great deal in advance, but keep the action that has taken place in mind so I don’t drop something in the future.  This novel has a lot of moving parts in a lot of different places.  I keep notes of where my characters are at different parts of the novel and then pick them up when I need them.  I need them all together at the end, so I’m having to plot this a bit more carefully but still give them room to move.

We have a huge storm blowing through right now, high winds, lots of rain and 27′ beach surf.  Dangerous conditions outside, but just perfect for staying in with a cup of tea or coffee and writing my next 2000 words.  I’ll see you all again soon.

NaNoWriMo Already!

Eek!  It’s NaNoWriMo time again!  National Novel Writing Month.  Often known as NaNo by writers.

I wasn’t going to do NaNoWriMo this year.  I’ve been struggling with pneumonia for the last seven weeks.  I’m recovering after two rounds of antibiotics and at this point it is still a question of whether it will come back when I finish this last round.  I’m exhausted most of the time and feel more like lying about on the couch than sitting my bum in the chair and writing.

BUT it is NaNoWriMo, one of the months I am forced to be most productive.  The goal is to write 50,000 words in November.  That’s 1667 words a day, every day in November.  It’s not impossible; my goal is usually 2000-2500 words a day.  I normally average 2000, but there are those days that getting more than 500 words from my brain to the computer is difficult.

Why the powers-that-be at NaNo decided on November, with Thanksgiving right at the end, I’m not sure.  But there we are, writing frantically and suddenly along comes Turkey day.  Try writing through a food coma!  Some of us are okay, and already ahead of the curve, or have completed the 50K and are just cruising along.  Most, like me, are struggling to finish up.  And we only have four days left to get our last words in!  Panic, panic!

What takes the pressure off is that whether or not you actually finish the 50K words and “win”, you are ahead because you have written.  It really is about writing, getting words into your story.  They might not be the very best words you’ve ever written, but that’s what the rewriting process is for.  The goal of NaNo is to write: 30,000 40,000, 50,000 or 100,000 words.  As my son says, “It’s all good.”  I have done two NaNos before this.  I wrote 45,000 words the first year and 67,000 the second year.  I’ve skipped a couple of years because of circumstances, but cheered on my friends who did it.

And now, I have been talked into NaNoWriMo for another year.  I both love it and hate it.  I love the writing, hate the pressure, love the word goal, dread the days my brain goes mush and not even three pots of coffee help.  The discipline of sitting and writing every day is good, even when I’d rather go for a long walk on the beach and watch the seals play in the waves.

One of the best ways to complete Nano is to have goals of your own, and to be well prepared.  I am not. My goals this week are to get organized.  I need a plan if I’m to do this well and not spin about in circles. I’ve had an experimental novel going for a number of years, a pirate spoof called Avast.  It is at the halfway point and I moved too many times in the last three years to  get it finished.  A month ago, a boy of twelve asked to read it.  He devoured it in two days  He is now waiting for my next chapters and bugging me to get the book done.  So for Johnson, I am going to work on what has turned into a Middle Grade Adventure novel.  It will take about another 50,000 words to finish up the story.  I am anticipating about ten more chapters.

I’ll let you all know how I do and any lessons I learn from NaNoWriMo this year.  I always learn something — about myself, my characters, and writing.  This is never a bad thing.

Are you doing NaNoWriMo and what do you do to stay disciplined in your writing?  I’d love to hear from you.  Drop me a line.  For anyone doing NaNo, I wish you the best of luck.