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.