Michille: NaNoWriMo Week 1

NaNoNational Novel Writing Month began on Sunday, November 1. I hit my word count on Sunday and Monday and missed it on Tuesday. I wrote, but only got 659 words. It is, however, more words than I’ve gotten on the page on other days, so it was still sort of successful. As I’ve said before, I would love to hit the 50,000-word target, but I am more interested in hitting the write-every-day target. You’re seeing this post for the first time on the 5th, but I am writing in on the 4th. Therefore, the write-every-day target was hit for the first four days. Yeah me!

I had 40 ideas of things to write and two of them gave me 1,700 word scenes. Tuesday’s idea didn’t yield enough words and that coupled with a lack of time to tackle another idea had me missing the word-count. I can’t change the day job, needed the exercise, felt the family could use some dinner, and had some Cross Country Team Mom stuff that limited my time and that will happen again so I’m not planning to focus a whole lot of energy on changing that. But I can change the quantity and quality of ideas in my pipeline so I can get more words on the page faster. I took to the Internet for more motivation and ideas (and it’s only a couple days in – yikes).

There are a lot of websites that have NaNo advice. Suggestions like write every day, don’t edit, or write the last scenes first to change things up (8L Jeanne has already said she couldn’t do this one – creates too much stress for her). One of the tips I came across is “don’t sweat the roadblocks.” If you get stuck, just skip to the next scene. I do this all the time. If I can’t figure how to get out of the scene I’m in, I’ll stop that one and go on. That was one of the reasons I didn’t get more than 659 words written on Tuesday. I got to a point and couldn’t figure out where the scene was headed. Writing sprints is another suggestions, but I still have to have a scene idea in order to do that.

I also found some funny stuff. A Time magazine article from 2012 titled “NaNoWriMo: Is National Novel Writing Month a Literary Threat or Menace?” Literary menace? What? It asks the question “does this mean an influx of new voices or the end of literature altogether?” Seriously? The article focuses on NaNo’s push to get words on the page – the permission given to write “a lot of crap” – and completely ignores the fact that any writer worth his or her keyboard will then edit. The whole Time article ignores that part, stating that there are a lot of crappy novels that have come out of NaNo. I read that and thought, there are a lot of crappy novels out there NOT written in November, too.

I didn’t end up finding much in the way of motivation on the Internet. I did enjoy the Time article for its ridiculousness. Now I’m off to write my 1,667 words plus 1,000 to make up for Tuesday. How are you doing with your Nano? If you aren’t doing that, how many words are you getting a on your page?

12 thoughts on “Michille: NaNoWriMo Week 1

  1. If you like the slightly competitive nature of NaNo, or the accountability toward a goal aspect, the Magic Spreadsheet might be of interest. (https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Pj1qcMIZQnDXWNKvnQr1l1DR8hBDdSArDhFo2V107zM/edit?usp=sharing) It’s currently HUGE because of the number of people who have used it over the years, but it’s pretty simple.

    Find some white space (looks like line 373 on the NovGplus3 tab), add your name, add your word count by the day column, give it a couple hours, and then check your standings on the Live Leaderboard. Or if you’re not competitive, just watch your numbers climb.

    The beginning goal is 250 words a day, and you get a point for hitting that goal. There’s more points for writing more, but it’s not a huge jump (it caps at 4 points for 2000 words). The real points are in writing every day. Day 1 is 1 point, Day 2 is 2 points, Day 100 would be 100 points… you can’t write enough to get that many points. I’m horrible about daily writing. My highest streak so far was 87 days. I think it’s time to get started again and see if I can get out of the binge-and-wait writing habit.

    I’m handwriting this NaNo, and there’s been some outside factors, so I’m behind. I almost always start NaNo behind, so I’m not worried yet. So far I’ve done 1265, 2709, 665, and 364 for a total just over 5k, or one full day behind. Tomorrow’s a day off work, I have things outlined, and I plan to put on my wrist brace and get back up to speed. I usually spend time writing myself into the story, then I hit the “Oh, oh! I know who they are and where they’re going!” part, words pour out, then I hit word goals a lot easier. The two much smaller word counts are after a POV shift. Obviously not comfortable with the hero’s POV. Yet.

    For getting your thoughts together and getting more done, I don’t know if you’ve seen Rachael Aaron’s 2k to 10k http://thisblogisaploy.blogspot.co.uk/2011/06/how-i-went-from-writing-2000-words-day.html but the idea of leaving myself notes rather than writing until I was tired and out of ideas was very helpful for me.

    • Wow. That spreadsheet is colossal. I’m not very competitive with others about my writing. I’m not very competitive in general, but that looks like it could be very motivating. Congrats on your word count (esp. the 2,709 day). I should try the mini plotting that Rachael Aaron talked about. 8L Justine and Jeanne both have a little worksheet thing they use to do a brief outline before they write. I’m usually more of a pantser, but that is what is getting me in trouble so far this NaNo. Thanks for stopping by, Flo.

      • I just love watching a chart go up and up. That’s a great motivator for me, although getting on the website to update the thing can sometimes be a problem. I mean, just the act of turning on the modem and getting there. I want to try homemade versions, but for some reason, it’s just not as fascinating.

  2. Yeah, you, for writing every day so far, Michille. Four done, twenty-six to go.

    I can’t imagine handwriting a NaNo. Funny now to think that when I started my professional career (a very long time ago) we hand-wrote our reports and had a group of typists to transcribe them. When I first learned to touch-type I was sooo slow – seems like a lifetime ago now. I love my notebook for brainstorming and scribbling, but when I’m on a roll the story seems to flow best from my brain through my hands to my keyboard. I’m searching for that feeling now after nearly a month off dealing with Real Life. It’s taking me some time to get back in to my story, so I’m allowing myself this week to make notes. I’m just glad to be back with my notebook and laptop. I’ll start beating myself up over word count next week.

    • Good – put the beating off as long as you can. I write best at my keyboard, too. I would like to try some of the talk-to-text software/apps. I think 8L Nancy uses one of those. Off to write 3,000 words today to hopefully catch up.

      • Actually, one of my friends has started using talk to text software. I’ll see her this weekend and am looking forward to hearing how that’s working for her.

        I have done okay so far and have written every day (not yet today, but I will start around 8PM). I had one pretty low-word-count day, only around 400, which brought down my average, but I was exhausted and just couldn’t get keep myself awake any longer. I’m looking forward to getting caught up and then some this weekend!

        Good luck to all of you on your word counts and daily writing goals. Onward and upward!

        • I’ll be interested to hear on the talk-to-text. I had a no count word day today. I’m in the education grants game for my day job and there were some new regs that dropped recently which require new policies and procedures to be written (by me). And today was a big Cross Country meet for my son (regionals) and as Team Mom there was a bunch of stuff I had to do before and am still doing now. Life interrupted today. But tomorrow is another day. I am hopeful for a big writing day coming up to make up for lost words.

  3. I’ve hit the 1,667 goal so far for each of the 4 days, but yesterday it was a near-run thing. I think it was a few minutes after midnight when I got those final words in, but I’m calling it a win anyway. The best thing so far has been getting back into the mode of writing / thinking story. I’ve got a notebook and pen with me all the time, because random sentences and ideas keep popping up. It’s been a while since that happened, so I’m thinking the writing-every-day is what brought that back. (Now if only I could figure out what that is I wrote down in the middle of the night last night – I’m sure it was brilliant but right now it’s a mystery).

    The advice I read yesterday (it was about how to write when you don’t feel like it) was to leave a sentence unfinished when you get to a stopping point or end just before you wrap up a scene. The idea is that when you start writing the next time, you don’t have to think “what should I write”. You have something already in progress. I’m going to give that a try and see how it works.

    Happy NaNo and good luck on your own writing.

  4. I’m kinda/sorta doing it. I love NaNo, mostly because Chris Baty gave me (not personally, but through his book) permission to tell the inner censor to just shut up until January. It’s so much fun for a pantser.

    But I had problems last year because I was working in the year 1899, and my inner creator didn’t have enough information to work with. When I write fantasy or science fiction, a lot of time the world is already there, or at least I can make it up as I go along (as long as I remember what I made up, LOL). But with a real time period, I can make up a few things (it’s alternate/fantasy history), but some stuff I need to get right. For example, did women use the word “bawl” in 1899? I did a lot of reading this year, so I feel more confident about getting it right. Or at least close enough that I don’t make a plot-destroying mistake.

    • You could always just keep writing and make notes about what you have to check. Write bawl and then research it at another time and find/replace if it isn’t the right one. I’m behind on my words. I’m hoping to catch up, though.

  5. Pingback: Elizabeth: Catching those Creative Thoughts | Eight Ladies Writing

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