Living the Nanowrimo Lifestyle (No fiction in this one)
It’s the second weekend of Nanowrimo, and I’m diligently working on my novel. Currently, it’s at 10,709 words. The good people at nanowrimo.org do an excellent job of keeping stats and helping writers track their progress. By midnight tonight, I need to be at 15,000 words or more. Am I concerned? Yes. Am I panicked? No.
I usually start off having trouble keeping up. I have a full time day job, and lots of responsibilities as a husband and dad. Additionally, I want to keep working on my writing career (including doing blog posts like this one). Despite my best efforts, I tend to be too much of a perfectionist at the beginning of November. I worry that the book will be lousy or I’ll write something completely unworkable. After I fall behind enough, I’ll stop caring about perfection and accelerate.
My real secret for completing Nanowrimo with everything else happening in life is to write in small doses and make sure I write something every day. A hundred words before work every morning helps (that’s 3,000 words by the end of November – nearly two days of 50,000 word pace). I try to write an email to myself of 200 words or more at lunch (I love my smartphone) and do another quick hundred when I get home. None of these are enough to finish, but they help me immensely.
One other thing that I start doing is writing stuff out of order. Right now, I have the epilogue of Freedom Squad Vigilance written out in my head. I’ll probably type that one out tonight, even though it’s out of order and I don’t want to publish it on the blog yet. When I feel inspired, I’ll put a scene together. After November, there will be a lot of time to edit.
Nanowrimo is a personal quest. If you’ve seen blog posts about people who already have 50,000 words or you have buddies that are over 20,000 or 30,000 and you’ve got 3,000 and a lot of pessimism, don’t give up. My first Nanowrimo success came when I had only 10,000 words at the end of week 2. I was halfway through and 15,000 words off pace to reach 50,000. I committed to reach the 1,667 to keep pace, then doing a little extra to catch up.
Even if you don’t finish 50,000, remember that you will still have far more than you started the month with. That to me is a victory.
Harry (aka Vashar on Nanowrimo – feel free to add me to a buddy list)