Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Living the NaNoWriMo Experience: Week One

I'm doing National Novel Writing Month, known as NaNoWriMo, for the first time this year. I'm happy to announce my word count is on target as of this morning. I knew I would skip writing last Saturday to indulge in a day of play, so I knocked off enough extra words in advance to cover the day off.

The plan is to do that again this week because I have a local author's book signing to attend on Saturday and I've signed up for a three-hour class on writing the robust scene Sunday afternoon. Those two events could sabotage me if I haven't planned ahead.

All that sounds good, doesn't it--slightly ahead of schedule, a detailed outline nearby, plenty of coffee and chocolate? It's awesome, until I see what the overachievers are doing.

One Colorado published author I know is aiming for a six-day win and plans to write another 150,000 words before December 1st. That's the equivalent of four NaNoWriMos or the first draft of two complete novels. He's been doing this November exercise for several years, which makes me wonder why I'm just now trying it for the first time. It obviously works for those who take it seriously.

I'm in awe of this writer's word count after week one, but my biggest goal for the month is to establish an almost daily writing habit while getting that magic 50,000 words finished. So far, I've surprised myself. Before the month began, I created an outline for the story and blocked out my writing schedule on a calendar, allowing time for special events, grocery shopping, and even a little exercise.

I'll report again in a couple of weeks and let you know if I hit a wall or am still in the running.

Meanwhile, those of you are doing NaNoWriMo 2011, are you on schedule? Are you a veteran or a first timer? What did you do ahead of time to prepare?

And if anyone wants to buddy up, my NaNoWriMo name is PattyPetunia (and my word count as of yesterday evening was 12,195).


Margot Kinberg said...

Pat - Thanks for sharing your progress thus far. I try hard (not that I always succeed) to focus on my own progress and not compare it to others'. So from my perspective, you're making wonderful progress. I'm impressed - I really am! And I look forward to seeing how it goes for you the rest of the month.

Jan Morrison said...

Wonderful, Pat! I'm impressed. I did nano a few years ago and am still untangling. I might be seduced to do it again but it would mean a totally different approach than I usually take - not this year though. Still have two revisions and a first draft to get through - and yes, the first draft is the nano from two years ago!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Good stuff, Patricia! And Jen hit her 50,000 word count last year on day five, so I can see someone writing 200,000 words in the whole month.

Heidi Windmiller said...

I have absolutely not intention of writing over 100k this month. My goal is solidly at 50k.

This is my first year doing NaNo. I'm a few thousand words behind, but my start was really slow. All the pressure of starting on a certain date was difficult for me. But now that I'm 10k in, things are much smoother, and I'm feeling confident about catching up.

Are you planning on going to any write-ins? I went to my first one last night. I have to admit I felt a little out of place just because everyone else seemed to know each other, and I get shy in those situations. But everyone did seem really nice, and I'm excited to go again.

Nathan Lowell said...

I missed my "6-day win" target by 5k. Too much life got in the way of writing, but I cracked NaNoWriWeek with just over 50k in seven days. I'm on track to finish book one by this weekend and already planning what to write for the last half of the month.

I "buddied" you Pat :D

j. a. kazimer said...

Go PAT!!!! Whooo Hooo!

Patricia Stoltey said...

Hi Margot -- we're probably better off competing with ourselves rather than others, but I'm so in awe of what Nathan is doing that I might have to do a weekend write-a-thon here at home to pad my word count a little.

Jan, a member of my writer's group is submitting his novel from two years ago as well. He said he quit at 50,000 words, but wishes he'd kept going until at least the first draft was complete.

Alex, I'm not sure I'd ever be able to hit 50,000 words in 5 days...my husband might cooperate, but Katie Cat won't.

Heidi, I did Trai Cartwright's class before NaNo started so met a few folks there. I haven't been to a gathering since, but will try to do a couple during the second half of the month. I'm most likely to go to Reader's Cove or Harmony Library.

Nathan, you're my NaNo hero, but since I let life interfere lots more than you do, I won't try to catch up. :) I buddied you back, so now I can do a daily check on how many words you're ahead of me. (Ouch!)

Julie, cheerleaders are especially appreciated. A member of my writers group sent me a copy of this cheer to put on my bulletin board: "Lean to the left, lean to the right, stand up, sit down, write, write, write..."

Heidi Windmiller said...

I just buddied you as well--I'm Riverite.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Thanks, Heidi. I'm heading over to buddy back.

Rini K said...

Good for you Pat! And I look forward to seeing you in Trai's class.

I guess I'm a veteran if having participated twice qualifies :). This is the time of the year that I actually get significant amounts of writing done (other than Scriptfrenzy in April). The support is totally amazing, and the MLs have all sorts of devices to help push word counts during the write-ins.

Heidi, don't worry, everyone is really friendly at the write-ins and you will soon find your groove. I haven't made it to very many this year, sadly, but it truly did help my word count and motivation.

Night of Writing Trecherously is on this weekend, info is in the FtC forum. Is anyone coming? I need to get my word count up (currently at a sad 5874) so I'll be there.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Night of Writing Treacherously sounds like a lot of fun. I'll check it out, Rini.

Kay Theodoratus said...

I'm doing NaNo for the first time too ... mostly to speed up my writing speed.

So far, I'm not doing too badly, writing about 12-1500 words a day.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Hi Kay, that's my goal too. I blocked out all of my big writing days on the calendar, as well as my days off, and then I try to write a little extra on the days off when I can. So far I'm still a few words ahead.