The NaNoWriMo Finale

I’ve been busy the last few days, recuperating from all this novel writing. I’ve been going Christmas shopping, spending long hours with friends, going on walks, and sleeping. A lot of sleeping.

But I’m so happy to say that all this R&R is well-earned. A few hours before the 12:00am deadline on Dec. 1, I clocked in 50,385 words for my novel, making the whole thing now total 87,632 words! It’s still not done unfortunately, and I already see where a loooot of rewriting needs to happen, but I’m proud of what I achieved this month.

Even better, this word count doesn’t include the updates and book reviews I wrote for this blog nor a chapter of fanfic that I wrote this month, so my monthly word count is probably closer to 60,000. How awesome is that?

This marks the first time I’ve ever “won” NaNo, and I’m a mixture of impressed, relieved, and perplexed at myself. All this writing potential and I’ve never tapped into it like this! [Owen Wilson voice ]Wow!

I remember how in the past writing 1,000 words a day seemed so daunting and impossible to do consistently, but I just did so much more than that for the entire month. Now, I’m excited to embrace this daily writing habit. I’m even writing this article now despite the fact that I told myself I’d chill for a week, reading but not writing, but I had to write something! Even tomorrow, I’ll be eyeing a few other stories I’ve been neglecting, debating what I’ll write for first.

I do wish that I could have gone to an in-person write-in to meet other writers, but a local one that I was available to go to got canceled and then all my Saturdays filled up quickly with other matters. But I had a lot of fun with the virtual write-ins I joined, both NaNo’s and the ones I was doing with my best friend Jennifer through our podcast, Femme Trash. Sometimes we even had a special guest — Ariel from Within Walking Distance!

I’ve been thinking about doing Camp NaNoWriMo when it rolls around because I really want to finish my current project so that next November, I will be tackling a brand new story with brand new characters. Wouldn’t that be ideal?

How did you guys do? I hope you know that I’m super proud of you for everything you’ve done this month, and you should be proud of yourself, too, for being brave enough to tell your story.

NaNoWriMo: Week 3 Update

Is it already week three? Wow! I’m even getting later with writing these updates.

As it turns out, my preparations earlier this month with the whole “write 2,000 words a day” have borne fruit. I’ve been able to maintain par with NaNo’s recommended word count, and I haven’t had to write as much to do it. And I haven’t been writing as much lately, truth be told. I haven’t quite burned out yet, but the words have been harder to come, the plot harder to conceptualize, and I’ve had to force myself to write before I do x thing. (Reward systems really do go a long way.)

On Day 21, I had 35,782 words, just a little over the recommended word count of 35,000. And hey, I’ll take it! My current total is 36,950, and I haven’t been able to write today yet due to Thanksgiving shenanigans, but family has now left and the rest of the night is free. I actually get more energized if I think less in terms of how much I’ve written and more in terms of how many words I have to go (13,050!).

Currently, I have no idea where the plot of my novel is going. I know where I want it to go, but this word count challenge has allowed it to take many surprising turns and I’m using characters in ways I didn’t expect. I’m starting to see what works and what doesn’t in terms of pacing and side plots, but I don’t think I’ll get the full picture until the novel is finished and I go back for rewrites.

I’ve been trying to do some write-ins and word sprints when I can, but so far I haven’t done any this week. Hope to change that by the weekend. I hope also to solve a sort of writer’s flaw that I’ve noticed in myself. I tend to write scenes that only focus on two characters at a time, no more than that. Am I scared of writing more characters in a scene? Do I have some sort of fear that I can’t juggle them all, or am I just thinking too small? I think for my next week, I’m going to try to do more scenes involving larger groups of characters.

How are you guys doing? Have you noticed any tendencies you have that you want to improve? What are you excelling at?

We’re in the home stretch, y’all! Keep going!

NaNoWriMo: Week 2 Update

Hoo boy, I’m a little late with this, but that’s okay!

How’s everyone doing on week two, going into week three? I’ve managed 28,528 words for the month so far (65,631 words total for the overall project), so I’m about on par for where I need to be for today, November 17th. I’m actually about to sit down and try to get a lot of words on the page to make up for lost time.

Truth is, I slacked off a little bit this week, for a few reasons. By trying to reach the 2,000 word count every day, I felt myself approaching burnout, so I pulled back to save myself later pain. I also got a little sleep deprived here and there, and instead of forcing the writing to come, I elected to get rest which was usually a great choice because the next day, I got in double my word count. The third thing for not writing as much as I wanted is that I got myself addicted to a book series and spent a lot more time reading that than writing. (Oops, but not really. I’ve been having fun.)

But I’m still on track, and I’ve got a whole weekend to get words onto the page. Once again, word sprints and setting time limits and word count goals for myself has helped me immensely. Jennifer and I finished our last recorded word sprint for Femme Trash this week, but we have more planned for this month and the future off-record. Super excited for those!

So far I’ve been struggling a lot with timing. Should this be described there? Should this character say this now or wait? Am I introducing this plot point in the right place? Is it too soon or too late? Are these side plots really necessary, or are they cluttering the work? Should this really be written as a duology as originally planned, or should it be a stand-alone, and if so, where should it end? What do I need to keep and what needs to be rewritten or sacrificed altogether to make it work?

I’m not trying to answer those questions now. They’ve just been batting around in my head as I go. I’m hoping things will get clearer once I actually approach the end of the novel, if not at the end of NaNoWriMo. The revision phase is something I’m greatly looking forward to, and each day I find myself a little closer to it, the more giddy I get.

What have you guys been struggling with? What’s something in your novel that you’ve been looking forward to the most?