Posted in Writing

My Plans for NaNoWriMo 2018

On November 1st for the past 11 years, I’ve opened a new Word document on my computer, named it NaNoWriMo and the year, and set out to write 50,000 of a novel over the next 30 days. And I’ve failed every year except for one. I usually manage 5,000 or 10,000 words before school or work takes over the hours earmarked for writing.

(The only time I won NaNoWriMo was my senior year of high school. I remember only two things about that novel: it was 5,000 words short of 50,000, so I included a couple short stories at the end; and I modeled a character after Jesse James from West Coast Choppers.)

NaNoWriMo sparks anxiety in me and makes me set expectations really, really, really high.

I convince myself that this November is when I’ll finally write the story that’s been loitering in the periphery forever. And I’ll make the time to write, carving out a couple hours before bed and scribbling during my lunch. And eventually, I convince myself that this is my ONE CHANCE to write this particular story. If I don’t, then it’ll never get written.

Here’s the thing, though: that’s not true. There are still 24-hours in a day during November, and some of those hours are earmarked for things like working and homework and sleeping and showering and doing laundry. NaNoWriMo doesn’t magically add an extra hour for writing to my day (no matter how much I wish it did). I’m working with the same number of hours that I have the other eleven months of the year.

And that whole thing about having ONE CHANCE to write THIS story? Also crap. Stories don’t have expiration dates. My zombie apocalypse novella is still waiting patiently; the treasure hunt/ghost story I’m trying to work on now will be there next week and next year; even the trilogy of paranormal romance novellas is still going to be there when I get around to writing it.

So rather than stressing out about not joining the millions of other writers across the world as they draft their stories, I’ve decided that I’m going to focus on the long-term this November. That means figuring out a writing routine that works, whether that means sitting down at my laptop for an hour Saturday and Sunday mornings or taking a half hour after dinner to get words written.

Getting that routine down and consistently turning out words will be far more beneficial for me than trying to slam out 50,000 words in November. NaNo works for some writers, and that’s great. But it doesn’t work for all writers, and that’s okay.

Posted in Challenges/NaNoWriMo, NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo Progress, Week 4 (And Wrap Up)

NaNoWriMo LogoNational Novel Writing Month 2015 is officially over. I didn’t hit 50,000 words, though I didn’t expect to reach that goal. Neither did I meet my 30,000 word goal. That’s okay, though. The 11,000 words I wrote in the month are 11,000 more words than I had written for this story on October 31st.

The plan going forward is to keep working on Bay View Outbreak until it’s finished. Hopefully that’ll be before the end of the year, and I can start editing it by the end of January.

Here’s how the last week of NaNo went:

How many words did you write this week? 707
What’s your biggest accomplishment this week? Since I didn’t get all that much writing done, I think the biggest accomplishment is that I’ve written at all. A few hundred words is a whole lot better than no words.
Do you have a favorite scene so far?  I still really like the exposition about my main character’s fear of darkness.
Do you have a scene that didn’t quite meet your expectations? I mean, there are quite a few scenes that are going to need extensive revision when the time comes. So many that I can’t pinpoint one off the top of my head.
Are you sticking to your outline? I am, and I have an inkling that this project is going to come in closer to 20,000 words.
What’s your writing routine? Routine?
Total NaNoWriMo Word Count So Far: 11,018
Words to Goal: 18,982
Days Remaining: 0

How was your NaNo? What did you accomplish?

Posted in Challenges/NaNoWriMo, NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo Progress, Week 3

NaNoWriMo LogoPerseverance is the name of the game this November. I may not be writing every day or getting more than a few hundred words written each session, but I’m sticking with it.

Due to my day job in retail and continuing freelance projects, I’m probably not going to be getting all that many more words written this month. I will still be on the lookout for snippets of time I can steal to write.

Here’s how the past week went:

How many words did you write this week? 3,857
What’s your biggest accomplishment this week? Sitting down to write break 10,000 words total and write over 2,000 words in the same session. It took me a whole lot longer than I planned, but it was the most fun writing that I’d had in a long time.
Do you have a favorite scene so far?  It’s not so much a scene as exposition detailing the main character’s fear of the dark. It’s directly inspired by my own fear, and I had a lot of fun putting words to the feeling.
Do you have a scene that didn’t quite meet your expectations? The scene where the characters move from their “home base” to the possible escape route. I think it’ll improve (or even be cut) during revision.
Are you sticking to your outline? Yes, there’s no change on that front. I’m starting to think that the final length will be less than the projected 30,000 words.
What’s your writing routine? The only routine I have right now relates to my dogs, not my writing. I pretty much decide five minutes before I start working on NaNo that I’m going to work on it.
Total NaNoWriMo Word Count So Far: 10,311
Words to Goal: 19,689
Days Remaining: 4

Posted in Challenges/NaNoWriMo, NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo Progress, Week 2

NaNoWriMo LogoFinding time to write has been a struggle again this week. I’d love to just pick a specific hour each day and make that my regular routine. But my schedule changes so much that such thing isn’t possible. So I’m trying a new plan where I carve out an hour a day to write. I’ll let you know how well that works next week.

Here’s how the past week went:

How many words did you write this week? 3,082
What’s your biggest accomplishment this week? It’s not directly related to this novella, but I finished the (very) basic outline of the entire Bay View Outbreak series. The current ending is a lot more depressing than I originally planned.
Do you have a favorite scene so far?  The one I’m writing now is shaping up to be my favorite. It’s basically where one character is coming back to life as a zombie and no one notices until it’s too late.
Do you have a scene that didn’t quite meet your expectations? Yes, it’s a scene where the main character and another character secured part of the building from zombies.
Are you sticking to your outline? Yes, and I can’t see that changing at the moment.
What’s your writing routine? There’s no such thing as a routine. I’m planning on changing that by giving myself an hour to write each day and then doing something else. That way I’ll start training my brain to get to work during that time rather than dragging the whole process out for hours.
Total NaNoWriMo Word Count So Far: 6,454
Words to Goal: 23,546
Days Remaining: 13

Posted in Challenges/NaNoWriMo, NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo Progress, Week 1

NaNoWriMo LogoThe lateness of this post (it should’ve been up on Sunday) pretty much sums up my NaNoWriMo so far: not enough time for all the things in my life so things get put off for later. That includes NaNo.

But I still see NaNo so far as a success. It’s gotten me working on a longer project, something I haven’t done since finishing a novel way back in June. Plus I’m writing more per sitting than I have in a long time. I’d like to get to the point where I can write 1,667 words in a sitting, and it looks like I’ll be getting there eventually.

Here’s a quick roundup of my NaNoWriMo so far:

How many words did you write this week? 3,372
What’s your biggest accomplishment this week? Not giving in to numerous other plot bunnies bouncing around in my head and tempting me to plan a shiny new story.
Do you have a favorite scene so far?  Not really. I haven’t written enough to have a favorite scene yet; I’m still feeling out my characters.
Do you have a scene that didn’t quite meet your expectations? So far, the first big “fight scene” was less spectacular than I expected. It may look better during editing.
Are you sticking to your outline? I am. It’s feeling a bit small, but it’s working for now.
What’s your writing routine? Routine? What’s that? I write whenever I have the time to sit down without other deadlines poking me to work on other projects.
Total NaNoWriMo Word Count So Far: 3,372
Words to Goal: 26,628
Days Remaining: 20

Posted in NaNoWriMo

National Novel Writing Month, 2015

Since finishing the rough draft of a novel back in the spring, I haven’t worked on another major writing project. I wrote a couple of short stories, but that’s about it. So there doesn’t seem like a better time to embark on a new story than National Novel Writing Month.

I’ve been prepping a novella series over the past few weeks. It focuses on the first seven days of a zombie outbreak in suburban Massachusetts, and I should have all my pre-writing work done before November 1st. There’s no official title yet. Just an unofficial one, Overrun.

The difference between Overrun and the other novels that I’ve worked on for NaNoWriMo is how I’m preparing this time around. I’ve been using the steps outlined in 2,000 to 10,000 to get the world, characters, and plot of this novel in shape. Despite being only about halfway through the prep work, I feel like I know this story better than any other story I’ve written.

I don’t plan on holding myself to the NaNo timeline of 50,000 words in 30 days. Partially because I’m not sure how many words this novella will be when finished, and partially because my most successful NaNos have been where I give myself permission to work beyond the November 30th deadline. (I’ve finished two rough drafts that way, usually six months after NaNo.)

Are you planning on doing NaNoWriMo this year? What are you writing?NaNoWriMo Logo

Posted in Updates

Monthly Monday Update: November/NaNoWriMo Update #4

What I’m Writing

I spent the majority of November working on my new novel, what I’ve decided to call the “Blood Tithe Project” for the time being. As I mentioned last month, I didn’t do a whole lot of preparation for this novel. So the story surprises me a whole lot, and the first two sections gave me a good idea of the structure. I certainly didn’t realize that each section would be about 15,000 words, giving me an estimated final word count of 90,000. That’s a bit daunting. However I did write 30,000 words during NaNo, so that’s only 60,000 more words to go.

Apart from writing those 30,000 words during NaNo, I finished writing the novel I started for Camp NaNoWriMo all the way back in April. I mentioned in my first NaNo update that I wasn’t too thrilled with the main character not rising to the occasion. Despite that, I’m excited to get back into the novel and start editing in a few months.

What I’m Reading

Reading NowLeft to Die by Lisa Jackson

Reading Next: Not sure yet.

In Other News…

National Novel Writing Month concluded yesterday. While I didn’t write 50,000 words, I’m still proud of the more than 35,000 words I did write. Here’s my final, fourth update for NaNoWriMo 2014.

How many words did you write this week? 1,377
What’s your biggest accomplishment this week? I managed to get a bit of writing done in spite of the Thanksgiving holiday and working on other writing projects.
Do you have a favorite scene so far?  I wouldn’t say that I have a favorite scene. There are a number of scenes that I like.
Do you have a scene that didn’t quite meet your expectations? There have been several. I just keep reminding myself that I can always change things in the next draft.
Are you sticking to your outline? So far, yes. I still haven’t found the outline, and I’m going to need it soon because I’ll be starting a new section tonight.
What’s your writing routine? Writing hasn’t happened this week.
Have you been keeping up with other writing commitments? I finished them for the month.
Total NaNoWriMo Word Count So Far: 35,738
Words to Goal: 14,262
Days Remaining: 0

 

How was your November? Did you finish 50,000 words? Or did you end up a bit short?

Posted in Writing Life

NaNoWriMo Update #3

Wait, there is only a week left of NaNoWriMo? This month has absolutely flown by so far, and I’m not quite sure how I feel about this new project that I’ve embarked upon over the past few weeks. I plan on finishing it in December, and it’s going to need serious revisions to bring out a cohesive story line.

How many words did you write this week? 9,925
What’s your biggest accomplishment this week? I wrote 3,100 words last Saturday, the most I’ve written in a single sitting so far this month.
Do you have a favorite scene so far?  I’m not sure. I can’t exactly remember what I wrote this past week, but I did have a “eureka” moment when it comes to foreshadowing.
Do you have a scene that didn’t quite meet your expectations? This entire section feels like it’s less than stellar so far. The main character is pretty whiny/bratty, and it’s not how I want her to come off right now.
Are you sticking to your outline? Umm, the outline is currently MIA. I have it, so it’s just a case of finding it under a mountain of paper and legal pads. I don’t remember what’s supposed to happen in the middle of the chapter, but I think I’m on track to get the ending I want.
What’s your writing routine? Write or Die is my savior. Writing has been very sporadic this week.
Have you been keeping up with other writing commitments? Yes and no. I need to power through those this week.
Total NaNoWriMo Word Count So Far: 34,361
Words to Goal: 15,639
Days Remaining: 9

Are you meeting your word count goals? Have you hit the mid-month slump?

Posted in Writing Life

NaNoWriMo Update #2

It’s November 15th. I’m halfway through NaNoWriMo 2014, and I can’t believe that my word count is hovering around 25,000 words. The mid-month slump has definitely hit. I missed a few days of writing, which forced me to average upwards of 2,000 words the nights that I do write.

How many words did you write this week? 10,675
What’s your biggest accomplishment this week? I finished the first chapter/section of the “Blood Tithe” project. It’s given me an idea of how long each section will be when they’re finished, so I now have an idea of the story’s ultimate length.
Do you have a favorite scene so far?  Still the scene in the supermarket.
Do you have a scene that didn’t quite meet your expectations? It feels a bit repetitive, but the scene at the end of the first section was pretty anticlimactic.
Are you sticking to your outline? Pretty much.
What’s your writing routine? The majority of my writing gets done between 11 PM and 1 AM. I’m still using Write or Die to get things done.
Have you been keeping up with other writing commitments? Yup
Total NaNoWriMo Word Count So Far: 24,436
Words to Goal: 25,564
Days Remaining: 16

Are you meeting your word count goals?

Posted in Writing Life

NaNoWriMo Update #1

Today marks the first Saturday of NaNoWriMo 2014, and I wanted to take the opportunity to post an update on my progress. It’s been a fun first week with ups and downs. I’m feeling pretty confident where I stand now.

How many words did you write this week? 13,761
What’s your biggest accomplishment this week? Finishing the “Parasite” project. I made that part of this month’s NaNoWriMo because I’ve been working on the novel for so long and simply never sat down to finish it. While I’m not at all happy with the way that it ended, it’s a finished draft. Now I can go back in a month or two and start revisions.
Do you have a favorite scene so far?  A scene in the “Blood Tithe” project where the main character encounters a squirt gun in a ransacked supermarket.
Do you have a scene that didn’t quite meet your expectations? Pretty much the last scenes in the “Parasite” project. They ended up being very anticlimactic, and the main character had absolutely nothing to do with shaping the ending.
Are you sticking to your outline? So far. The outline is pretty basic, so I have a lot of flexibility.
What’s your writing routine? The routine is currently waiting until about 10 PM and then using the 15 minute/500 word setting of Write or Die at least four times.
Have you been keeping up with other writing commitments? All of the projects with deadlines are getting done on time.
Total NaNoWriMo Word Count So Far: 13,761
Words to Goal: 36,239
Days Remaining: 23

How is your November shaping up? Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? How many words have you written so far?