NaNoWriMo Week 4 – Coming to the End

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I am still pushing forward, trying to hold on to some steam, but as the month charges forward to its last week I am looking over the progress of the last several weeks and considering what it all means to me.

I don’t expect to count myself in this year’s winner circle for NaNoWriMo, and I mentioned last week that not winning is okay. And it is. Because we have to admit that winning isn’t just about the 50,000 words at the end of the month. How many words did you write in October? Or September? Or even this time last year? I know how many words I wrote in September only because I was tracking for my short story, but before that – or even after – I couldn’t really say for sure. This month has helped me find a way to track how much and how often I write. And it’s definitely more than I have written in one month than ever before. That’s a win in my book.

What the last week’s stats look like:

  • Monday, November 19th – 767 words
  • Tuesday, November 20th- 736 words
  • Wednesday, November 21st- 100 words
  • Thursday, November 22nd- 80 words
  • Friday, November 23rd- 123 words
  • Saturday, November 24th- 477 words
  • Sunday, November 25th- 1717 words

I’ve hit a total of 16,718 words so far over the 25 days of NaNoWriMo, and with not having even hit the halfway mark that could be a let down. I refuse to see it that way. Instead I am going to remind myself that hitting 16,000 words is a plus for someone who has never written a novel before. A couple months ago was the first time I’d ever written a story that was complete. This month is the first time I’ve ever created an outline. Maybe next month (or the next) will be the first time I write the first draft of a novel.

Make note of your writing firsts and celebrate them. If you’re willing, I’d love to hear about how they went. Let me know, either in the comments or feel free to contact me directly through the contact page or via email: hsellers@heather-sellers.com

NaNoWriMo Week Three – Recap and Some Perspective

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This last week has been kick your teeth in exhausting, and I can safely say I am not proud of my progress so far. Less than two weeks left and I am not sure if I’ll make the 50,000 words needed to “win” NaNoWriMo. I’ve been dealing with how I feel about that, and after much thinking I have decided I feel okay with it.

If nothing else it helped push me to write every day this month, and I’ll try to continue that through next month as well. After all, my real goal is to finish my novel. Since it’s my first one I have to accept that there are some growing pains, give myself a bit of slack for the learning curve.

This last week has been crazy at work, lots of long hours and a great night at an Evening With Neil Gaiman on Wednesday. While all of that factored in to low word counts I did make myself write every day – I have started hopping back and forth on different chapters so I haven’t finished as many this week.

Without further adieu, my week’s stats looked like this:

  • Monday, November 12th – 37 words
  • Tuesday, November 13th- 2311 words
  • Wednesday, November 14th- 82 words
  • Thursday, November 15th- 80 words
  • Friday, November 16th- 67 words
  • Saturday, November 17th- 1131 words
  • Sunday, November 18th- 555 words

Tuesday was the best night, I took my laptop with me and sat in the car while the kiddos were at practice. Chilly fingers flew across the keyboard and kept me busy while I waited, and it definitely was worth it! Lots more work to go, and while it would be easy to let myself be dragged down by my lack of progress I am instead using it as inspiration to push harder next week. With a four day weekend on the horizon maybe I’ll catch up!

Remember, even if we don’t win this challenge, it’s a great opportunity to let us see where we are in our writing habits and that is more than worth it! If you’re participating how are things going for you? I’d love to hear about your experience with NaNoWriMo. Let me know, either in the comments or feel free to contact me directly through the contact page or via email: hsellers@heather-sellers.com

Let the Prepping Begin

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As October – fondly called “Inktober” by the visual artists – comes to a close, those of us wordy fellows are preparing ourselves for a massive push to write a novel in 30 days. National Novel Writing Month – referred to by the name NaNoWriMo – is looming and anyone who hasn’t made a plan (or finalized said plan) may be entering panic mode. I might be one of those people.

This is my first year venturing into the NaNo adventure, and I’m hoping for some beginner’s luck to help me see this through to the “winners circle” because I am not sure I prepared nearly as much as I should have. It might be better to just outline what I have done so far – that list is certainly easier than the one that details what I should have done.

I started by logging into my NaNoWriMo account (which I created ohhh two years ago) and “announcing” my novel. What this consisted of was my creating a title and a genre for the work I plan to do during this year’s event. I’m already hemming and hawing over the title, but I keep reminding myself that the title isn’t what’s important right now and to stay focused.

Next steps, I had to identify writing days because I am very much aware that life can get in the way and I need to make sure I protect my writing times during November. The average number of words a NaNo participant needs to write per day is 1,667 words a day to stay on track and I already know that there are two days a week I can’t write, which means that the remaining five days a week I have to maintain at least 2,272 words a day in order to make the goal. That’s a pretty steep curve I have – when I was trying to maintain my word counts for meeting my deadline for the short story contest I was only aiming for 300 words per day over the course of  two weeks, and found that I had a hard time keeping up with that low goal.

I had a minor panic when I considered how many words a day I needed to write and after breathing rapidly into my imaginary paper bag I sat down and drafted a rough outline for my novel. Ultimately I don’t want to stress more than I have to when it’s time to start editing so I came up with a way to keep my novel bite sized and manageable for editing. I had a much easier time editing my short story than I had expected, so I planned out eleven chapters that will sit around 4,000 words each. Each chapter has a specific function for the story (Chapter one, introduce the characters and the world, chapter three is where I plan to introduce the antagonist and the related tension, and so on).

So now I have my novel announced, my story idea is defined, and I have a rough outline to work with. In theory this is a pretty good place to be, but today I looked at my outline and realized it’s a shell, and I need a whole lot of meat to fill in the blanks and I have ten days to get that done.

So with a deep breath, and some determination I am going to just put one foot in front of the other and see how it goes. I’ll be sure to keep you all updated on how each week goes.

In the meantime I’d love to hear about your experience with NaNoWriMo prepping? Let me know, either in the comments or feel free to contact me directly through the contact page or via email: hsellers@heather-sellers.com