This month, I’m participating in NaNoWriMo. The idea is to write 50,000 words in a month. To do this, you have to write about 1,700 words per day.
I write a lot of words for work. Some days, I write 3000 words or more, plus do other incidental activities (like this blog). So, I thought doing NaNoWriMo would be a snap.
Today, I’m at about 34,000 words and I have a week left. I have to write about 3000 words per day to catch up. Why am I so far behind?
Well, I didn’t account for life making it harder to write. It turns out, by the end of the day, I am tired. I don’t want to write any more, even fun words in my book.
We also had some family issues come up this month. My husband’s grandmother died. My kids got sick. So, what I thought would be extremely easy, is actually not.
Is sitting down and writing 1700 words a day that hard? No. It usually doesn’t take much longer than 2 hours.
But, when you have things that get in the way, it suddenly gets much harder. Plot changes, thinking about when you want events to happen, and all of the other behind-the-scenes stuff that goes into making a book makes it more of a challenge. I didn’t account for those things.
By the end of this challenge, I will have about 50,000 words. But, I doubt I will use half of them in the final draft.
So, why did I want to do this challenge? I was tired of not having anything written in my book. I have talked about writing a book for about 10 years now. I wanted to finally have something to show for all my aspirations. Good or bad, I want to move on.
If you are in a similar place, here are some things to think about for next year’s NaNoWriMo:
- You probably shouldn’t combine it with NaBloWriMo (I tried to, but that makes it much harder)
- Account for days off. I had to take about 5 days off, and that made the challenge much harder. But, I am determined to continue and see it through. If you want to take weekends off, for example, make sure you adjust for that in your daily word count. 1700 words a day is a commitment that you have to make for every day.
- NaNoWriMo happens in November. Thanksgiving is in November. If you want to make sure you have time for family festivities, you will have to write more in advance. I’m trying to be done by Wednesday night. This will give me a buffer if I am short a few words (it also means I only have 7 days to write 17,000 words (2500 per day, if you’re keeping track).
- Do your words early. The first half of the month, I did everything else in my day first. That was a mistake. Your book should get your first energy. That way, you can make sure you reach your word count each day.
- If you commit to this project, commit wholly. I bought a t-shirt so that I felt like I *had* to finish.
- When you feel like you would rather do anything but do your words for the day, try moving to another part of the story. Maybe that part will be more fun. I started in the middle and moved to the end, then I went back to the start. It’s helping me keep my plot aligned too.
- Don’t forget to allow some wiggle room for ruts in your plot, or research, or other behind-the-scenes work. It will bite you if you don’t watch out.
- You will be extremely tired. Ignore it and keep going.
Are your doing NaNoWriMo this year? How is your progress going?