07 November 2011

NaNoWriMo: Week 1

*comes up for air*

Yeah, that's what it feels like! How is everyone else doing in the trenches? I have to admit I am feeling somewhat overwhelmed, but still trying to keep up. Whether I keep up for the month is still a huge question mark. Even if I finish with the 30,000 I originally talked about, I'll have achieved a lot more than I would have otherwise.

My NaNo effort started poorly. On day 1, something else came up that I had to attend to with my husband, so not a word was written. I tried to catch up on day 2, but I just fell short of one daily word count. By day 5, the mounting shortfall had me quite uncomfortable, so over the weekend I sort of cheated by pulling in some scenes (or scene ideas, which I then wrote) that I thought of prior to November. Even that didn't catch me up. Today I wrote 2,500 words, so I'm just 500 shy of the target. Another 2,000 tomorrow and I'll be there - but today I already had quite strong ideas about what I wanted to write in an important scene. I have probably five other scenes like that in my head... and then what will I do? *wrings hands*

The problem is that scenes generally occur to me organically, and not in order. And trying to rush the process like this might be counter-intuitive. If I run out of ideas, I won't be able to keep going. As I predicted, writing consecutively (chronologically) is also a struggle. I banged out chapter 1, because I already had a pretty good idea of what that needed to be, but then chapter 2 descended into scrappy notes and character brainstorms. I know I need to keep working on developing the story including minor storylines, but for now I need to write the scenes I know exist and hope the intervening chapters come to me (or that I get time to think through them properly).

All the advice I'm reading says, "Don't try to make it good, don't edit, don't research, don't try to form a proper book - go back later and fix it". I'm realising this flies in the face of my instincts... I want to make my sentences or word choice correct from the beginning, and I hate leaving paragraphs that I know won't make the cut later. For now they have to stay, so that they can lead into the next thing. I also can't really "free-write" as such... I do have to have some idea of what a scene will achieve before I start. Perhaps that will come as I get more desperate towards the end!

So, another three weeks. This seems like madness, but it's a madness I very badly want to abide by so that I can achieve something special. I already have those nagging doubts (maybe this isn't special at all, and it only has 20,000 words in it), but I need to persevere just in case there's a real book in this idea. This whole writing thing does seem incongruous sometimes.

Week 1 Summary:

Day 1 - 0 words
Day 2 - 2407 words
Day 3 - 1454 words
Day 4 - 1384 words
Day 5 - 1019 words
Day 6 - 2411 words
Day 7 - 2515 words

Total = 11,190
Target = 11,669


  1. YOu seem to be on track, whether you think it's a shortfall or not. You're writing, that's all that counts. Just keep on keeping on. You'll get there.

  2. Awesome job! You did great!

    I'm not officially participating, but have set my own word count goals. After this week, I'm taking a break. I've been going at it strong since mid October.

    Don't look back...just move forward.