So far, I've kept up with the daily word count goal for NaNoWriMo. Sometimes I even find myself a day or two ahead! But now Thanksgiving looms and while I'm looking forward to spending time with my family, that also means no time to write.
My solution? Write like crazy before Thursday. That way if I don't find time to write, at least I'm not terribly far behind. A great way to do this is write-ins. Check with your NaNoWriMo region to see if there are any events going on near you. Just last night I attended one and the accountability and word sprints pushed me to write 4,000 words!
If there are no events near you or you can't attend any, here are some writing sprints you can do yourself. Just set a timer and start writing. Don't stop to edit yourself! The goal is to crank out as many words as possible. See if you can make it to the word goal or even past it in the time given. If not, that's alright, these are supposed to stretch you. Make sure you take a short break in between sprints to reorganize your thoughts and remember, you can always go back later and edit!
If you can find time to write during the holidays, that's great! Couple it with a few sprints and that's even better. Here are some tips to keep writing when on vacation:
Have a happy Thanksgiving!
I'll be the first to admit it, week two has been tough. I've had to rely on all of the extra words I wrote during the Write All Night in order to keep myself afloat. Still, I try to meet the daily word count goal or at least chip away on my story every day. I am now at 23,000 words. It's time to take a break and and take stock of where I am now. I encourage you to do the same.
So far, the plot seems to be shaping up nicely. The intro is kind of long and I know during revisions that I will probably have to get rid of several of my beginning chapters. But hey, at least it's going somewhere and I haven't run out of things to write about yet (knock on wood).
First of all, I really love my setting. My story takes place on a little Atlantic island with a bustling town and a mysterious lighthouse. There's hidden coves, bluffs, winding dirt highways, and a bay that is dangerous for large ships to sail into (due to the rocky spires that surround the base of the cliffs). The setting is what brings the story alive for me. Especially with the mysterious fog that has begun rolling in. An omen for things to come? Maybe so.
My characters are becoming more and more lovable and interesting as I get further into my story. At the beginning they all felt pretty flat and some still do. But, I think that I have discovered more about them as I have written and gotten more invested in their lives. It's fun to watch them go from a character outlined on notebook paper to a person who I feel like I know. For example, I knew before I started writing that Thomas, one of my main characters, was orphaned when he was around fourteen years old. It was tragic, it drove him to a leave his home country, and he becomes a sailor without any family or home to anchor his wandering spirit. However, what I didn't know was how his father's death was even more devastating for him than his mother's. And how the stories that surrounded his native country are going to drive him to a tough fork in the road later on. I'm looking forward to exploring this more and seeing how that impacts his relationships with the other characters.
Meanwhile, I still have a long ways to go with my other main character, Helena. She will need some editing to bring her up to where Thomas is right now. I've given her interests (she is obsessed with myths and legends), a past (her mother's mysterious death and her father's increasing paranoia), and she has a stake in the story (this could be her last chance for freedom), but she still doesn't stand out. Maybe I need to develop her personality more or increase her accountability. What will happen if she does take a chance? The repercussions should be bigger.
And then, there are some side characters that I initially just threw in for Thomas to dialogue with who've turned out to be my favorites. One of them is a very hairy sailor named Standfield. He's overly superstitious and has a seaman's tale ready for any situation. The captain of the ship is a very logical and sensible man and usually dissuades such nonsense. But Standfield's stories keeps the crew entertained and their minds far from ideas of disobedience and mutiny, so the captain makes an exception. However, it starts to become unnerving when Standfield's outlandish stories start to come true.
I hope you take a break this week and look at how far you've come. Who are your favorite characters? What is great about your setting? Remember, this is a first draft. Not everything has to be perfect the first time. Instead of letting that keep you from writing, just make a comment in your word document to remind you to come back later during editing.
Week three here we come!
I have officially completed the first week of NaNoWriMo 2016. Feeling pretty good about it too. Here's how it all went down:
10/31 Day Before: Sitting on my couch watching a Halloween movie (Hocus Pocus to be exact!) and thinking, "You know, the scariest thing I've experienced today is the knowledge that NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow."
Day One: I didn't have any time to write this morning, because who is awake enough to write at 5:00 am? And then finally when I got home from work at 4:00pm, I was legitimately nervous to begin writing. What if I choked at the start and can't even think of an opening scene? I knew I should be writing, but bugging my husband instead was easier to do. My husband also knew that I should be writing and dutifully banished me to my desk. Miraculously, I made my word count today. I even did a little extra just because.
Day Two: I actually motivated myself today and wrote up to my word count pretty easily. I tried to push myself to do a bit more like yesterday, but then my husband started making burritos. I looked down at my keyboard, then back at the kitchen, conflict raging within me. Then promptly abandoned my novel for the burrito. *Sigh* How fickle is the heart...
Day Three: I joined my first NaNoWriMo writing group today! My friend and I came in mid-sprint where everyone was gathered at the mall. So we awkwardly started writing until the current sprint ended. At the start of the next one, our goal was to write 747 words. I came up short at 728. My friend shamed me with her exorbitant word count and I resolved to do better next time. Word count goal for the next sprint? 1,298 words... I smacked my forehead in despair. As the clock ticked, I threw out all of my perfectionist tendencies and wrote like a crazy person until I actually started to sweat. This time when we called out our word counts, mine was 1,544. I do a quick mental fist pump in the air.
Day Four: Today was the Write All Night at the library. My friend and I weren't able to come at the very start, but we got there around 8:00pm and jumped right in. It was so cool to see so many authors working away. The sound of keys tapping filled the room and you could feel the pressure as we all strove to meet the word count sprints. I broke 10,00 words today, woot woot! All in all, it was a wonderful experience.
Day Five: Well, I'm ashamed to say it, but today wasn't as productive as compared to the rest of the week. I spent my time editing and filling in gaps that I noted during the Write All Night which was a good thing. However, I only got in a measly 700 words and then lost steam. I had hoped to use the weekend to really get ahead but I'm afraid that was not to be.
Day Six: Instead of writing this morning, I took a two hour nap. I suppose I needed it though, and came in strong and met my word count later this evening! Here's hoping that the structure of the upcoming work week will force me to crank out those words again!
Hang in there everyone! Do what you can and keep on writing!
Howdy, folks. Well, here we are. Week one of NaNoWriMo. I have the strangest feeling that I have been here before. Ah yes, that's right. It's because this is my 4th year trying to do this! Woohoo! And let me tell you, this first week has been very different (in a good way) than the other three times and I think I have figured out why.
This year I have been on track with my word count every day, which is a very odd thing for me the first week of the challenge. Let's go on a walk down memory lane, shall we?
Anyways, I was darned determined to complete the challenge this year because I know that I can write and I know I've done it before (2013, you're always taunting me). So I buckled down and got organized (Read about how I prepared for this year at my three NaNoWriMo prep blogs: NaNoWriMo - You've Been Warned, Letting It Marinate, and Getting In Shape.)
So wherever you are in your NaNoWriMo journey, don't get discouraged and keep pressing on. Some years will be flops, others will be successes! Sometimes you just have to play around with things and see what will give you your best shot at making it to those 50,000 words.
For me, I think there are four things that I can attribute to this year's "on track" phenomenon:
That's all for today! Check back here on Sunday to read my play by play about this year's first week of NaNoWriMo, shenanigans and all.
How is your NaNoWriMo experience so far? Is this year different than past years?
Good luck and happy writing!
Hi, I'm Jessica! I'm on a mission to make my writing better in hopes of becoming a published novelist. It's been a crazy journey so far as I learn the twists and turns of the publishing world, but it's been worth it. Though I'm still learning how to be the best writer I can be, I'm excited to share what I learn with you. Happy writing!