If there is one thing I have learned from NaNoWriMo this year, it is that I do not have time to write 50,000 words in one month. And that’s not a complaint or an act of self-deprecation, for which I’m definitely not known.
It’s just an acknowledgment that my life and my priorities have changed since the first few years I participated in NaNo with great success. I’m still happy to be participating, and I’ve made some real progress.
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As of November 16, I have written 4,710 words for National Novel Writing Month. That may look paltry given the lofty goal of this month-long writing binge, but consider this.
Halfway through the month, I have eclipsed my writing totals from September and October. I’ve also accelerated my writing pace during the second week of NaNo, so I’m eyeing a stronger second half.
I will almost certainly not be able to reach my primary goal of finishing The Herb Witch Tales #2, but I’ve made some serious progress. Right now, my draft sits around 9,000 words, approximately a quarter of the way towards a general length of 38,000.
What Writing Strategies are Working?
My primary strategy has been to flip a couple pages ahead in my journal and make some notes in the top margin about where in the plot I want to be by the time I reach that page. This very light form of an outline has allowed me to think a couple steps ahead to get to where I want to go in my story, while also giving me the flexibility to add content in between as I write.
I tend to veer into tangents that reveal more details about the character or the world, so sticking to page-by-page outlines tends to stymy my creativity more than anything else.
What Writing Strategies are Not Working?
Writing in a journal. While I enjoy being able to write anywhere in my house (since I’m not really going anywhere), I definitely write more slowly by hand than typing.
Sometimes, that’s okay, because I need to muddle over the current scene and chip away a sentence or two at a time. With a journal, I can do this in between doing other things, like cleaning up around the house or playing with my toddler.
Other times, such as Monday night, it slows me down. I got on a bit of a writing spree Monday night during a scene that allowed me to expand the world-building in this story in a way that would ultimately drive the plot forward. I didn’t want to stop writing, but I also didn’t want to stay up all night. Creativity just hit me at the wrong time.
If I had been writing at a computer, I could have easily churned out 1,200 words or more in half the time.
At the moment, I don’t know of an efficient way to write the same draft by hand and typing as the mood grabs me, unless I transcribe my hand-written draft as I go. Maybe I’ll try that once or twice during these last two weeks to see if it helps.
I’ll report back after NaNo ends!