Elizabeth: 100 Words

100_signIt’s officially fall, so naturally we’re in the midst of a post-summer heat wave.  The raccoons are back to foraging in the back-yard in the evening and there’s a hopeful (though unappealing) possum who stops by the front porch after dark to check for left-over kibble in the cat’s dish.

The joys of suburbia.

The arrival of fall means it won’t be long before the holidays are upon us.  More importantly, it means there are only 34 days before the start of NaNoWriMo.

Are you appalled?

Excited?

I find I’m rather looking forward to it.  I had a successful NaNoWriMo experience last year; winding up with a 50,000+ word (very) rough draft of a contemporary romance.  I’d love to say that draft has since been polished up and moved to the “all finished” folder, but I’m afraid it hasn’t seen much action since I typed “The End” and tucked it away at the end of November.

I’m okay with that.

Working on the story served its purpose.  It helped me establish a consistent writing routine and gave me some useful practice in writing-when-not-in-the-mood.  Better yet, it gave me a chance to get a shiny new story idea out of my head and on to the page, so that I could focus my attention back on my historical WIP (The Perpetually Unfinished Story).  I was able to make much better progress on the revisions, once my contemporary characters weren’t chattering away and distracting me.

I’m hoping this year will be equally successful, especially since there are a number of new characters clamoring for attention and distracting me from my well-laid plans.

All of which brings me to the actual point of this post.

The November daily goal of 1,667 words can be pretty daunting, especially when it will be done in conjunction with a full time job and commute.  To get back into the consistent daily practice of writing, I’m starting with the simple goal of writing 100 words every day.

The word count isn’t as important to me as the consistent practice of writing.  I’ve done this before, with good results, making it to around Day 46 before breaking the streak.  Even better, those daily 100 words have quite often turned into 200 or 500 or more.

Today’s 100 words, for example, were really 383.

At this rate, I’ll be in good writing shape, once November 1st rolls around.

So, what’s new with you on the writing front?  Any helpful tips for getting words on the page that you’d care to share?

5 thoughts on “Elizabeth: 100 Words

  1. I’m in awe that you “won” at NaNo last year, Elizabeth! And that you plan to do it again. I tried it once, but it’s a bad month for me—I travel at least one week of November for Thanksgiving, and usually I lose a day or two at the end because of jet lag. The only month that would be worse is December!

    But the goal of a small, reasonable daily word count makes a lot of sense, especially for me, since it seems that I spend so many days cutting whole scenes. Working on the manuscript every day is the way to keep it in the forefront of your mind, keeping ideas fresh. If one only gets a little bit done, well, a little bit is better than nothing.

    Best wishes for this year’s NaNoWriMo!

    • Thanks Kay. I seem to do better with my writing when I have a definite external goal/target. Last year I also Facebook posted my status every day, and the desire to be able to post that I had been successful was often just the motivation I needed to write just a little bit longer.

      You’re right about writing every day keeping the story mentally front and center. When it has been too long between writing sessions I lose a lot of momentum and always have to go back and re-read part of the story so I can remember what was going on.

  2. I got distracted by the wildlife report. We have squirrels in our garden, and urban foxes who like to sunbathe on the roof of the garden shed. Raccoons look cute, but I guess they’re not as adorable as they are photogenic? I’ve never seen one, or a possum.

    Like Kay, I’m seriously impressed that you ‘won’ NaNo, and even more impressed that you’re going back for a second challenge. Do these new characters belong to a new story world or genre? And do you plan to outline at all before November 1 rolls around, or will you just splurge and see what happens?

    I love the idea of NaNo, but November seems to be a bad time for me to start a new story. I’m always busy trying to finish something before the end of the year – for 2016, it’s Alexis Book 1, and an updated version of Ian and Rose if I have time to spare.

    I do love the idea of setting a goal of 100 words a day, every day, though. And getting better at writing-when-not-in-the-mood. I’m still working on that.

    • Jilly, you haven’t missed anything by not seeing a possum. They are not attractive critters. Your foxes sunbathing on the garden shed sound much more appealing.

      As for this year’s NaNo, I’m going to try to replicate the process I used last year (since it worked), which means doing some pre-work on the characters and settings and such and then roughing out an outline. The story I have in mind features the best friend and brother from last year’s story, though I’m also toying with working on Cassie/Nicolai’s story. They’ve been clamoring to be more than just Friday Improv participants. I’ll see which story I have more ideas for when the time gets closer.

      November tends to be a good writing month for me. It’s dark when I get home from work, so there are not a lot of external distractions. Plus, it can be kind of a depressing month sometimes, so it’s nice to have the distraction of a shiny new story to play with.

  3. I loved NaNo when I was doing it . . . it helped me prove to myself that I could write more than 40,000 words. I know that’s not winning, but since my normal story-length is 5000 to 8000, it was really a morale builder to know I could do five times that much. I might try it for the Autumn Bae story which is supposed to wind everything up. My NaNos tend to sit in my backfiles and never get edited, either.

    I don’t know what my problem is . . . . I guess I’m still wrestling with personalities and events in my story, and I don’t even want to meander around on the page, lost. I should probably be doing stuff on graph paper with colored pens, instead. Maybe I’ll try that this afternoon.

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