Well the first week (plus a couple of days) of National Novel Writing Month has come and gone. I don’t think an update post really warrants a long introduction (the point is in the title, after all), so let’s get into my progress, hurdles, and learning curves of the past ten days.
Continue reading this update, or skip to:
Currently, I am back at my apartment after attending a local NaNoWriMo Write-In – my first this November and ever. For those of you who don’t know, a Write-In is simply a group writing session, organized by local NaNo “administrators,” or, in my opinion, NaNo professionals. During today’s write-in, four of us partook in many word sprints (a set period of time during which you write as much as you can without taking a break), and chatted about our respective stories. It was incredibly enjoyable and productive. Being able to chat with other writers in addition to the change of scenery (we gathered at Panera Bread) did so much good for my spirit and momentum. I ended up with 1,453 words, which is about on par with my pace on other productive days (I was at the Write-In for two hours), and the session left me with so much motivation to keep going.
At the time of this post being published (7:30 pm on Saturday, November 10th), I have written a total of 12,621 words. This is a bit behind, but I’m feeling really proud of myself for cranking out more than 10,000 words by this point. Honestly, I’m thrilled to have written more than 1,000 words so far, as I’ve never been successful with NaNoWriMo. 16,670 words is about what is needed to be written by today in order to finish on time (based on writing about 1,667 words a day), so I’m feeling pretty good about being almost there. And who knows how many words I’ll write after finishing this post.
Now, I haven’t written every day. I’ve skipped two days out of the ten (days six and eight), which is another reason I’m feeling pretty good about where I am with the word count. Last night was my worst writing night, because I started writing later than usual so I was just too exhausted to write for a good chunk of time.
I’ve done almost all of my writing – with the exception of maybe a couple hundred words and this afternoon’s Write-In – at night. This is really out of character for me, because the morning is when I am most productive. It’s amazing what an extreme amount of enthusiasm and a great lyric-less music playlist can do for my ability to focus after dark.
Because I have been writing at night, I do so at my apartment. One night I did stop at a Starbucks to write, and that was a good way to break up what was starting to feel like a monotonous schedule. I still prefer to write here in my apartment, but a change of scenery definitely refreshes my mind and my typing fingers.
As far as what program I’m using to write: I was going to use Scrivener, then decided that because Scrivener is so orderly I would prefer to use Word in a journal entry-like way, then when the month is over I can better organize my story and put it into Scrivener. So each day I open a new Word document and start “fresh”.
Although I am still motivated and still excited about my story idea, I definitely felt a shift at the end of this week. The newness of NaNoWriMo 2018 has all but worn off, and I’m starting to have to dig a little harder to write new scenes and/or build on those I’ve already written. I’m not feeling discouraged in any way; if anything, this shift has led me to be more creative and imaginative about the directions in which my story can go. I’ve found that trying to write in a relatively linear timeline does not work for me, so I’ve been experimenting with characters and plot in sort of boundless ways.
Besides exhaustion – ugh, why does my body need any sleep at all, am I right? – I haven’t really hit any roadblocks or drawbacks. Should I knock on a piece of wood? I have read parts of what I’ve written, but mostly in cases when I want to spark a new idea or am reminding myself of a scene I want to continue writing. Luckily I have not had the energy or the time to even consider revising, and I’m hoping that keeps up because once I fall into that hole it will be hard to get out.
So I think that’s a good wrap-up of my first ten days of NaNoWriMo 2018. I mentioned in my NaNoWriMo Introduction that I was going to wait until my first update to reveal anything about my story idea. Halfway through the past week, I considered not revealing anything after all, but for those of you who care I have reconsidered once again and will tell you about my story.
As some of you [may] know, I have a series of Grimm’s Complete Fairy Tales discussions here on my blog. Because that tome has been quite a big piece of my reading life in the past year or so, and because I’ve read a couple of fairy tale and/or mythical story retellings and/or adaptions this year, I came up with a plan to write a retelling of a fairy tale; more specifically, Maid Maleen. And as I expressed above in terms of where I am with my word count, it’s going quite well. I’m having a lot of fun with the setting and characters, and I’ve written a lot of dialogue, which is surprising to me. I’ve even drawn a map – well, I did when I was preparing for NaNoWriMo – which of course is everyone’s favorite thing about a fantasy book. A fantasy-based novel is the last thing I ever expected to enjoy writing, because I’ve always felt like I’d be best at writing contemporary or creative non-fiction. I’m not really sure why this is, but I can finally identify why I never felt excited or good-nervous about NaNoWriMo – because I was writing things I thought I should write, rather than letting go of the restrictions I placed on myself and letting myself just write.
For those who are interested, here is a very short excerpt, which I put up on my NaNoWriMo profile and therefore don’t have to reread all I’ve written and risk going down that proofreading hole I talked about earlier:
“There, a humble stone gate – left open on Celebration Day – is flanked by two of the highest ranking guards in the Queen’s army. They are most jovial on the day of Celebration, but intimidating and serious at all other times.”
So there you have it – my first NaNoWriMo 2018 update. I hope you enjoyed hearing about how my first week (plus a couple of days) went, and I hope that if you are a NaNoWriMo participant, you will share anything you’ve learned or experienced throughout these first ten days. And, if you are participating in NaNo and are considering attending a Write-In, I highly recommend it. With that, I conclude this update, and will see you with another one next Saturday!
Happy writing, friends.
I nearly forgot – I’ve been posting daily updates in a thread on Twitter. So if you’d like to see my day-to-day updates, just click here.