NaNoWriMo Days 1-7

It’s November and that means it’s National Novel Writing Month. This is my second year participating in NaNoWriMo. I didn’t really have a goal last year, I only decided to participate after the contest had already started and I’d didn’t really focus on it as much as I should have. Despite all that, it was still a good learning experience for me.

This year I’m taking it more seriously. I may not make it to 50,000 words and win, but I’m at least going to dedicate time nightly to giving it a real shot.

Today is day seven, and so far I’ve been doing OK, which means much much better than last year but not as good as I’d like. The first three nights, I got a late start and generally didn’t sit down to write until around 11:30 or later. I’ve also be recovering from being sick, so I’ve only been able to spend about an hour each night before staggering off to bed. The first night I struggled to even get the 603 words down, and the second night was not much better. The third night ended with me getting stuck at the first major plot point of the book, it’s the event that initiates the major conflict of the story, and I just couldn’t figure out how to get it started.

So on day four, I was 3000 words behind where I needed to be, stuck on the plot, and just not sure how to move forward. I didn’t want to take a night off from writing though, because I knew that would break my momentum and likely turn into two nights off, or a week, and before I’d realize it there would be no catching up. Instead of just staring a my screen, I decided to change tactics. I started a new text file and started writing the first thing that popped into my head, which turned out to be a monologue by my main character. While writing like this I came up with how to get around the plot issue I was dealing with. The other thing that happened, is my brainstorming session turned into my story. After an hour and a half, I had 900-ish words and had actually moved the story past where I’d been in my previous writing.

This was great, since I’d finally found a good head-space to write from, but it did mean dumping the 2000 some words I’d written in the first three days from a third-person perspective and starting over with what I’d done in first-person from day four. Decisions decisions.

In the end, I decided to stick with the first-person work I’d done and since then I’ve managed to catch up and pass my original count and hit 3639 words.

I’ve kind of broken a rule of NaNoWriMo by starting over, since what I ended up doing was basically a rewrite. The general idea is just to keep plunging forward and leave any changes for after the 30th, but I hadn’t intended to do more than just type out some thoughts in an effort to work through my plot a bit. I’m still not rereading anything I’ve written or changing anything except for the occasional typo.

In case you’re curious, I’m working in WriteMonkey and using DropBox to keep the text file automatically backed up. I’m keeping notes in Google Docs. I’m reading Chris Baty’s No Plot, No Problem and Doyce Testerman’s This is How I Get It Done for advice and motivation. I have a copy of Lawrence Watt-Evans’ Second Draft printed and hanging above my monitor.

10 Comments

  1. stargraceNo Gravatar says:

    So excited that you’re attempting this again – despite you thinking that you ‘failed’ last year, the true point of NaNoWriMo (to myself at least) is motivation and inspiration, to encourage people to 1. attempt something they would not have otherwise found the time to do, and 2. get those creative juices flowing.

    Even if you don’t “win” I think anyone who sets out to try this is a winner just for that.

    Good luck!

    • BrianNo Gravatar says:

      I don’t think that I failed last year, although I didn’t win either. I’m still happy I attempted it even though I 1/2 assed it pretty badly, like I said I do think I learned some lessons about turning my editor off while writing and not spending so much time worrying about world building.

      My big goal this year is to commit the time regularly to write. I’m hoping that it becomes enough of a habit that it sticks after the 30th, and I can use the time to write more, edit, and blog more.

  2. BronteNo Gravatar says:

    Good luck B! This is a mammoth undertaking, just keep at it, you may be 3,000 words behind today, but in a moment of clarity, you could be 3,000 words ahead! We’re rootin’ for ya!

  3. DoyceNo Gravatar says:

    I’m rooting for you. I’ve started with as much as an eight-day deficit and still managed to get across the line, but Stargrace is right: it’s all about what you learn.

    • BrianNo Gravatar says:

      Wow, I’m not sure I could dig myself out of an eight day hole, hopefully I don’t have to find out. Funny thing about learning lessons, some of the stuff that I thought had stuck last year I’m relearning again. Although it’s a quicker process this year.

      Thanks again for putting your NaNo posts together as an ebook, I’ve got a copy on my Kindle and they’ve been very helpful.

  4. AnjinNo Gravatar says:

    Best of luck to you, sir. I’m not participating this year, but I really need to get back to the book I was working on last year. Oh, so much to do!