Monday, November 5, 2012

NaNoWriMo, Day 5: No Cheating!

By some beautiful miracle, I've written a little over 5,000 words in 5 days. To be honest, if I didn't have NaNoWriMo's website to log in my wordcount each night, I'd have no idea what the exact number would be.

Before November hit, I had roughly 7500 words written for my novel. Each day I would sit down, look at the word count,and say to myself, "You can leave this chair once you hit this word count + 1000." I'd work until I got my thousand words in, continue on a little longer if I've got a certain scene in my head that was ready to be played out, save everything, and close my laptop.

The biggest rule I have had for myself this year is this: by all means necessary, no excuses allowed, I must keep up the pace. I can't sprint one day and write 3000 words, only to slack the next day because, "Well, I wrote so much the day before." That is a slippery slope down which I do not want to … slide.

Now, would it be really cool if I hit 50,000 words (the typical goal of NaNoWriMo)? Yes, of course. However, I also recognize that that's nearly double (well, 166%, but close enough) my actual goal, and acting like superwoman and forcing myself to write 2000-3000 words is only going to lead to burnout.

I have my routine in place: sometime in the afternoon, usually on my break (I'm blessed with a commute of one whole mile, so I go home usually for my break), I sit down at the dining room table and I write, refusing to get up until I reach my word limit, but allowing myself to go on a little further if I can play out the scene just a little more. Never anything big -- maybe 100 - 200 words on the absolute outside -- but enough so that the 1000 word limit is not a hard stop. And then I leave my laptop and do something else (usually go back to work), with the understanding that I'll come back and do this all again tomorrow.

I must add, however, that I do allow myself to "plan" for the next day. After writing my 1000 or so words, I'll spend the rest of the day casually thinking about what to write next. I might even jot a few ideas down in one of my notebooks. But I never, ever, play the numbers game. Whatever I wrote in Microsoft Word the day before becomes null and void and -- no matter what -- I have a new 1000 words to write that day.

So there we go: five days, 5000 words down. Twenty-five days and 25,000 to go. If you're curious about my progress with NaNoWriMo outside of this blog, you are more than welcome to visit my NaNoWriMo page. There, you'll fine my overall word count (what I wrote before NaNoWriMo is included in this word count), a (completely unedited) excerpt from my book, and many other just like me, slowly chugging along with their writing.

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