Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Living the NaNoWriMo Experience: Week Three

By Pat Stoltey

Once I passed the 30,000 word mark on Saturday, I knew I could make 50,000 by the end of the month (provided the Yellowstone volcano doesn't erupt or something equally disastrous happens). When I laid out the writing schedule for the month, I scheduled a write-in at the library for Sunday the 20th, and marked seven full days the rest of the month as "stay at home and write" days.

It helped a lot that we're not having company for Thanksgiving, and that hubby was surprisingly agreeable about my plan to eat out on Thursday. He's been very supportive (and even reduces the volume on his ham radio during my writing sessions).

Here's what I've learned from my NaNoWriMo experience so far:

1. Writing two to four hours a day is exhausting. I think I better establish my daily goal at 1,000 words after November (for certain male overachievers--and you know who you are--, let's not forget a woman's work is never done).

2. In spite of the fatigue and early bedtime, my sleep patterns are disrupted by a busy mind. I often spend an hour or two in the middle of the night, thinking about possible new scenes for the story.

3. The least little thing that happens can inspire a new direction or scene for the novel. I read about a friend's "bad mommy moment" in her blog. A bad mommy moment is now part of my story. A member of my critique group has been sending me ninja writing warrior e-mails where the evil ninja writing cat tries to foil my NaNoWriMo progress. Now there are three tiny abandoned kittens in my story and my characters (including a little old lady shopkeeper with a double-barreled shotgun) are on the alert for trouble.

4. There is an amazing cheerleading network for NaNo participants, and much of it takes place on Facebook. That's fun.

5. The best part. By the end of the month, I'll have at least 50,000 words of a first draft for a story I've been thinking about for years.

Would I do NaNoWriMo again? Absolutely.

By the way, it's not to late to try NaNoWriMo 2011. You have nine days left (including today and Thanksgiving), so you'd only have to churn out 5,556 words per day.


Margot Kinberg said...

Pat - Thanks for sharing what you're learning with NaNoWriMo. One of the things that you mention has really been true for me, too: the importance of spacing out one's writing so that one doesn't get too exhausted. I've found that to be really true for me. I know it can't be because I'm getting older ;-). And watch out for that ninja cat!

Patricia Stoltey said...

Hi Margot -- so far, so good. As for the ninja cat, you have no idea. Ken from my critique group has kept me laughing all month with his very funny e-mails of encouragement.

Cathy Roy said...

I doubt I'll make the word count and some days it feels like I stare at the computer more than write, not to mention my coffee consumption has gone up, however challenging - it did motivate me to dust off my two lingering projects (book and screenplay) and dig in with the goal of getting them finished by the end of the year. Good luck everyone!

Kay Theodoratus said...

Loved the ninja cats. Get out the spray bottle of anti-cat matter [aka water.].

Wiggles, my muse, helps me pull ideas out of my brain.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Cathy, staring at the computer with my fingers poised above the keyboard is a new way of life. The worst part is finally getting an idea when the cat is on my lap with my left hand captured under her head. One-handed typing is slow going.

Susan S said...

Great post Pat! I love the ninja cats - there is a ninja (and a cat) in my novel too! I didn't intend to do NaNoWriMo, but the timing for writing my first draft actually coincided with NaNo so I decided to challenge myself to see if I could do the first draft this month. I hit 43,000 words yesterday, and am on track to pass 50k this week. (Getting to kill off a character tonight is keeping me on track!)

Thanks for the encouragement and...it doesn't matter if you make the word count as much as it does that you keep pushing to write and create!

Patricia Stoltey said...

Hi Kay -- It's very helpful to know a lot of creative people too...it's where a lot of my ideas came from this month.

Hey, Susan -- I didn't know you were doing NaNo. Congrats on the good work. I've thought about killing off another character in my novel, but am not sure I can because I like them all so much...except maybe that biker guy. Maybe I'll take him out. :)

ScriptMonkey said...

Heya Pat,

You sound like you're having fun! That's the most important thing, else it becomes a chore. Chores are not fun...

Last year was the first time I participated and the first win as well. Although the story itself was extremely emo so I abandoned it pretty much on December 1st.
This year I wanted to try something more upbeat so I chose to write a light hearted post-apocalyptic story. You heard me right.
So far it's been going reasonably well; some days are better than others. Though the apocalypse turned instead in to a global economical melt down and somehow I've managed to involve alien beings of Light. Let's just say I have a lot of editing to do come December... XD

Keep having fun, guys ;)

Bianca, aka ScriptMonkey

Patricia Stoltey said...

Bianca, your novel sounds very intriguing--a global economic meltdown is not all that farfetched, even with the alien beings.

Mine started out to be suspense but I'm not sure what it is anymore. Like you, I'll have a lot of revising to do once that first draft is finished.

Rini K said...

If it weren't for Nano, I would not be writing ... :) Even my 7 year old daughter is participating (2nd year she's doing it). The cheerleading is a lot of fun, and very supportive (lots and lots of incentives/motivations to write and get word counts up).

lol at the ninja cats!

And I absolutely will do it again, too!

Patricia Stoltey said...

Rini, I think it's incredible that your 7-year-old is doing NaNo for the 2nd year. This is only my first. :)

Susan S said...

Sometimes killing off the good ones is actually a good thing - though readers do go sideways when you do it!

In my case, they pretty much have to go, though. Can't write a mystery without killing off someone!

Good luck with your writing this weekend and have a very happy Thanksgiving!!

Cozy in Texas said...

Looks like you're on the home stretch. I got up early and wrote when I did NaNo otherwise my mind wouldn't shut off when I went to bed!