NaNoWriMo Week 1 has commenced. Here is what I’ve experienced so far.
1. Week 1 is the time to get ahead.
Invariably, the feverish enjoyment you experience in your characters will dim slightly as November hits the double digits. Use the Week 1 excitement to get massively ahead! On Day 5, and I stand 17,000 words into my story. I wrote 5,000 each for Saturday and Sunday (Nov. 1 and 2), and have written 2,000 each for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (Nov. 3, 4, and 5). On Tuesday the awesome @NaNoWordSprints led me to write an extra 1,000 words which puts me at 17,000 (+change).
2. Be An Overachiever
A lot of people that I’ve seen on Twitter seem to hit their word count and then call it quits for the day. They call it reaching their goal, but I call it doing the bare minimum. We can all be honest: 50,000 words does not make a book. 50,000 words is 2/3 of a short-ish book or 1/2 of a long-ish book. Yet, everything all over NaNoWriMo’s site talks about writing a book in a month. I’m trying to accomplish a bit closer to this. Sticking to my goals, I should write about 70,000 words by the end of the month (even including all of the stuff that has gotten in the way.)
3. Things will try to stop you. Don’t let them.
On October 29, my Grandpa passed away. He was very important and very special. We knew it was coming for a few months, which helped, but it would have been easy to say, “well that’s it. NaNo over.” Luckily, I didn’t. I channeled my upset into the story and told myself that I’m writing a story he would have loved. (Though he probably would have waited for the movie version to hit theaters, rather than reading the book!)
So now, in November, here are all of the things that are trying to take my writing time/focus:
- my birthday
- my parents and grandma coming into LA to visit me for 4 days
- my grandpa’s memorial service, which I have to fly to and miss 3 days of work
- extra busy work schedule, because we are shooting our final episodes of the season (we’re talking working 14 hour days busy)
Any one of these things probably could have derailed me, if I chose to let it, but I’m not. And I’m even ahead on word count.
4. Use the sprints!
I mentioned above that the sprints bought me an extra 1,000 words after my 2,000 word weekday goal. However, it also pushes me through moments where I want to say, “Hmm… I’ll stop and think about how I want this to sound for a while.”
I particularly like the #1k30min sprints, which are targetted to get you 1,000 words in 30 minutes. No, this is not easy. I usually hit around 960 words in 30 minutes during these sprints, but the exercise is totally worth the time!
Above all, guys, just enjoy NaNoWriMo! It’s the most wonderful time of the year. And you get a book at the end, instead of an ugly Christmas sweater!