This was my second year participating in National Novel Writing Month, because I like to cause myself pain and stress and more anxiety.
The goal is to write 50,000 words in a month, thus the pain and stress and anxiety. Last year when I participated, I was also finishing up grad school and was doing a lot of writing to begin with.
I finished that story in January of this year and dabbled a little in writing a sequel for it before changing course.
I knew I wouldn’t be able to reach 50,000 words this year so I made myself a goal of just writing every day. On NaNoWriMo’s website, you can track your daily word count, and—drum roll please—I finished with 27,019 words and only missed four or five days of writing. (Fridays were really hard for me because I’d go straight from work to date night dinner with my parents, had an event to cover at work, or actually had social plans. I also took Thanksgiving off.)
50,000 words are a lot. And I could easily make all of the excuses in the world for why I couldn’t write that many words, but it’s hard. I could sit at my computer and write for an hour and think I was close to 2,000 words and only just hit 1,000. I came into the month with a novel already in progress and an outline in place, so I didn’t have to spend too much time planning. But toward the end, I noticed that what I was writing was steering a little different from what I had planned, so I spent one night just reworking the chapters a little to make sure everything was still going to work. And that made me anxious because I was spending possible writing time just jotting down notes in a notebook.
For a handful of days, I wrote on my lunch break at work—I’m still getting used to the fact that I can actually “take a lunch” now and don’t have to eat and work at my desk at the same time—and was able to get 500ish words done, but it wasn’t the same as working on my computer at home.
Coming into the month, my story was at about six/sevenish chapters and 23,000ish words, and I was able to double that in NaNoWriMo. I got into a groove and got to spend some more time with my characters. I got to the good parts, when the drama picks up. Now that it’s December, I probably won’t write every day—you know, work and running and Netflix and the holidays and all that stuff—but I’m hoping to be more consistent. There’s no timeline for me to finish, and I doubt this will see the light of day—aka finely revised and sent out to publishers—but it’s something I like to do. I want to find a healthy balance of keeping writing in my life.
How is all of your writing going? Start any new projects? Ever thought about fiction writing?