NaNoWriMo – The End?

Well, National Novel Writing Month is over and according to the NaNoWriMo rules for winning, I didn’t win. It is easy to feel disappointed when so many around you are celebrating. It seems so very black and white, you either win or lose. However, writing isn’t like that. By November 30th, I had written 34,400 words and I think that’s pretty damn good.

I started off the challenge strong but struggling. I had to find ways to keep my mind on task. Sometimes it was stepping away from the computer, getting some tea, or a snack. If I hadn’t hit the daily goal it was getting my ass back in the writing chair. I learned to adjust my personal word count goals depending on the day of the week. There was no time to go back and edit, because I had a word total to hit.

The second week, plot problems started to pop up. I still kept writing deciding to flush out characters through scene writing but by the end of this week I started to feel the creative drain. If I wasn’t partaking in this competition I think I would have went back to rewrite and rework some scenes. Instead, I pushed forward.

Week three was the great word count slow down. The intense writing schedule, increase in holiday engagements, lack of story structure and motivation hit me hard. I was feeling tapped out, overwhelmed, and disappointed. I entered week four considerably behind my word count. I had to make a decision, I could write 5,000 words a day to win the challenge and probably grow to hate all I had accomplished thus far or carry on writing  as a writer might. So the last week, I wrote 1000 words a day. I added more to my story outline, character lists, and world-building frame work. I knew I wasn’t going to finished. Why stress out? I have never felt better about a decision.

I was feeling empty near the end. I thought I would be a let down because I didn’t finish the challenge. No matter the word count accomplished you have to remember you created something. Time to stop comparing ourselves to others, recognize our achievements, and keep up the momentum gained by attempting NaNoWriMo. I didn’t write 50,000 words but I have over 34,000 words I didn’t have before. Also, I am making writing a habit which I think, for me, is most important in the end. This is only my first draft, time to start revising.

Congrats

NaNoWriMo: Week Three

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Here is an update of a post that is week three and most of four but better late than never. I don’t think I’ll finish NaNoWriMo this time around. There are four more days to write 50,000 words and I would have to write about 5,000 words a day to reach the goal. I don’t see it happening.

Thanksgiving week was not kind to me. Too many engagements and not enough time or motivation. I was still writing but my 2,000 average word count dropped to about 300 words a day and my 3 day lead, well, I’m now 12 days behind. I finished my story and learned I needed more action to fill in the middle. Also, need more characters.

I’ll keep trying to write and see how many words I can end with but my first NaNoWriMo looks like a bust. I’ll give more of an update of my positives and negatives when it is officially over. Until then, got to keep writing.

 

 

NaNoWriMo: Week Two

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Everything started out so well this week. I had direction. I had confidence. I was excited.  Now, not so much. About half way through this week, I finally hit a wall. Plot problems. I knew it had to happen but I just thought I’d push through. It’s caused me to write a lot of character history through scenes. Not bad but I want to flush out the story more and I don’t know where to go.

It’s hard to write 2000 words everyday. I know the NaNoWriMo goal is 1,667 but I’m was trying to get ahead. It feels nice to have a buffer zone. I’m sure everyone who is participating can relate, but today there has been a quiet voice whispering in my ear to give up. I still typed out a few words but not enough. I should focus on the positives to help motivate. I’m half way done with a little over 25,000 words and that’s an amazing feat. Just feeling a little run down at the moment and seeing the glass half empty.

Going to try to push though and keep moving forward.

 

 

Week One of NaNoWriMo

Week one complete and I’m going to pat myself on the back, I have done well. I have ended this first week with 11,071 words. Unbelievable. I’m so proud of myself. The first day was a struggle. I don’t have an exact time because I kept repeatedly stopping for unknown lengths but I think it took me like four or five hours to write 1,667 words. That first day I was not confident I would keep up the pace but with everyday I’ve found myself writing faster and stopping less. Now, when I feel I need a break, I’ve created better exercises to keep me motivated. I’ve learned in those tough times to walk around, get some tea, or a snack. After one of those short breaks, if I haven’t reached goal for the day I always force myself back to writing.

According to the NaNoWriMo time table, I should have hit 11,667 words on day seven so I am 596 words behind. Ugh. My biggest writing hurtle, the weekends. It’s how I fell behind this week. Saturday and Sunday is the day I spend with people and get projects scratched off the chore list. I did write, I just didn’t hit the numbers I needed to reach the word count goals. To make up for it I’ve kicked my writing into high gear and have hit over 2,000 words the last two days! I hope I can keep up this pace. Fingers crossed.

It’s so positive in the beginning. Creating, writing, and feeling less self doubt. I’ve thought a lot lately about keeping this pace going after November. Well, maybe not 2,000 words a day pace but finally find paper for the half stories I’ve kept in my head. I think it’s too early to make any promises after all I’ve only just started but I’m feeling good. Now, please excuse me, I have a story to write.

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Participating in NaNoWriMo

Time to power up the laptop because November is here which means so is NaNoWriMo. You may wonder, what is NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month? Well, starting every November 1st people attempt to write 50,000 words by November 30. You can always write more but not less, at least not for this challenge. Since this is a square one draft, you can make all the mistakes. Mistakes encouraged. Edit in December. Just write 50,000 words in 30 days! Why would anyone undertake this torturous task? Everyone has their own reasons. Why 50,000 words? It was decided long ago 50,000 words was a challenging but not impossible goal. Also, some famous classic novels, like The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, are about 50,000 words.

I joined the website 9 years ago but I can’t recall ever participating. Some years it seemed just more stress and exhaustion on top of my busy schedule. Other years I had all the time but none of the motivation. It’s funny how much less you do something when you have more time. I’ve been writing with my free time but I could write more. With NaNoWriMo I figure what better way to push better habits then 1,667 words a day.

Seeing that daily word count goal made me a little nervous. So, I figured, best to be prepared. During October I tried to outline a bit of the novel I plan to write since I didn’t want to stall in the middle. The outline was going well. I was world building and constructing characters but I stalled when trying to produce an antagonist. After much time spend overthinking the creation of a villain, I have decided to leave the antagonist a mystery and let this character reveal when it’s ready.

I know one of the biggest problem I struggled with is thinking the first draft has to be perfect. I have given up on some projects  in the past with this thought of book perfection the first time round. What am I thinking? Seriously! I need to allow this writing to suck.I really have a need to finish this challenge. I have a few unfinished projects in my hard drive and I really need to stop giving up on stories. Even if it’s fashioning a one demential villain or this thought of the only good ending is an epic one.

I know NaNoWriMo is not a solution. I don’t expect some novel miracle. I’m going into this project looking to overcome some of the insecurities that seem to stop me from reaching my goals. I’m just using this challenge as a way to make it past all these cliché road bumps and librate myself from my fears. In the end it is all up to me. November is just a start and day one is looking good.

Fortune Cookie Wisdom
Fortune Cookie Wisdom

NaNoWriMo, Timing Is Everything

I always, seriously, consider participating in the National Novel Writing Month then It’s a few days into November and I realize how my world count is behind. As of today I’m short 10,002 words from being on track to writing my novella. It seems to be a thing a wannabe writer must try once and this year is not my month. I have learned that many who join the NaNoWriMo club prepare character profiles, and outlines before the start of November 1st. It would help to have a jumping off point but I was not prepared. I know you shouldn’t use a project you’ve been working on and should start fresh so I don’t have anyway to start. With my new job I am still trying to organize my time to make sure I get in daily writing time. Did I miss a learning opportunity? With a 50,000 word count goal I think I have waited to long and I’m out. I guess I can consider it next year.

Have you attempted NaNoWriMo? What has been your experience?

Just Don’t Quit

Who is participating in National Novel Writing Month? I’ve been thinking about partaking but sometimes I feel maybe I should be working on my own novel then just race writing. Some have said I should try to speed write my next novel but I don’t think NaNoWriMo should be used with something I care about. But some seem to be taking this month to work on the story they’ve been putting on the back burner. I always figured NaNoWriMo is a time to try anything. Stuck? Aliens land or a time machine or cab with hot celebrity. I’ve done that kind of writing now I think I want to focus on my story.

I’ve been working on my outline and now I’m reaching a wall. I’ve been figuring I’ll write what I have. I hope, as I get closer to the end of what I’ve outlined, I’ll have more direction where to go in the story. I don’t want some race or daily word count decide or pressure where my story goes.  NaNoWriMo could be a good way to step away from my story and just have stressful fun on something I don’t fuss over. Knowing me I’m thinking NaNoWriMo is just procrastination. I still have a few weeks to think it over before I choose. To the ones that have decided, I read a great quote the other day. For writers and wanna be authors out in the world:

“Don’t quit. It’s very easy to quit during the first 10 years. Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.”
– Andre Dubus