So I kicked off NaNoWriMo at midnight on the 1st of November. The minute it was technically November I was writing. I wrote 1,710 words and between midnight and 1:30am then I went to sleep.
For me, this is an excellent start, I have a terrible habit of completely destroying my sleep pattern during NaNoWriMo and becoming almost entirely nocturnal. So for me to put a limit on how much I wrote just to stay on par was a big step in the write direction.
When I woke up at 11am the next morning, it was still day 1, and I was still on par, so I didn’t actually add anymore to my wordcount for the 1st of November.
Day 2 began with me having a slight existential crisis about my writing. I wasn’t sure if my novel had a plot yet.
Usually with NaNoWriMo, I go into the month with a fully planned out, down to the chapter outline, with character sheets, setting sheets, and research folders all neatly filed in Scrivener.
This year, I got to October 30th, hated my story outline, and spent October 31st reading other books for reviews here on the blog, so I didn’t outline anything else for midnight on November 1st.
So when I woke up on the 2nd, and read over what I’d written previously, I kinda hated it. Not enough to delete it, but enough for me to go “uhhh that’s gonna be fun to edit in December”.
But I kept writing, I ignored that first part and continued on. It was still all chapter 1 but I made some changes in the second half of chapter 1 that made it flow a lot easier, so that when I go back to edit, I can just implement those changes in the first 1,700 words and keep going from there.
This is important for me, especially during NaNoWriMo. I have to turn off my Inner Editor and let it go. The first draft is always going to suck, whether it sucks a lot or a little bit is debateable but it will suck. The Editor in me will look back in December and cringe. Not only because the writing is clunky and unrefined but because of the sheer number of typos and nonsensical half sentences that somehow manage to slip by when I’m in the midst of writing intently. The Inner Editor is the death of NaNoWriMo success. You will fail if you keep editing as you write. You will lose momentum, and lose interest in your story, and you will begin to think you can’t write for shit. And that is not what you need when you have a strict goal of 1667 words per day to reach 50k on the 30th of November.
After having this little pep talk with myself, I went ahead and wrote 3,352 words in about 3 hours. This put me ahead of par and I had reached the first minor goal of 5k words! This was huge, I was a day ahead of par and was writing more than 3,000 words a day.
Day 3 + 4
That’s where the good news ends for the first 4 days of NaNoWriMo.
The 3rd and 4th of November were a weekend, and I wrote absolutely nothing. Not a single word. This means that today I have to write 3,275 words today in order to catch up. Not even to surpass the par, just to be on par.
This could be really disheartening and it was when I woke up this morning and realised I was now 2 days behind. But that’s life.
Lots of professional writers talk about forcing themselves to write. Treating it like an office job where you work from 9am to 5pm with an hour for lunch and that’s it. There’s no room for slacking off or procrastinating. That works for some people and that’s awesome, I wish it worked like that for me. But if the words aren’t coming I don’t like the feeling of sitting there and staring at the computer screen trying to figure out what to type next. I like to sit in front of my computer screen and see the words unfold in front of me. I like the feeling of my hands on the keyboard, moving quickly, and the story flowing from the keyboard to the screen. I find it so much more disheartening when nothing is happening.
So today, I write this blog, I sit here and the words flow from fingers to keyboard, keyboard to screen and I feel some comfort in knowing that when I do open my novel, I will feel a sense of relief that the words may come.
I’ll see you next week for day 5-11 of NaNoWriMo.
Let me know in the comments if you’re also doing NaNoWriMo and how you’re going with your word count. Let’s motivate each other.