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NoNoWriMo Tips: Week Four

We’ve made it to the last week of NaNoWriMo! As we enter into the final days of NaNo, you will find yourself in one of two camps. You will either be right on schedule with your word count and be thrilled to finally see the light at the end of the 50,000-word tunnel, or you will be woefully behind and not see anyway you can reach 50,000 words by the end of the month.

(Okay, there are actually three camps. Some of you overachievers have already finished NaNo, but we aren’t going to talk about you because you make the rest of us look bad. 😛 )

If you are in the former camp, then congratulations! You are almost to the finish line. If you are in the latter camp, don’t despair just yet. The month isn’t over, and neither is your chance to write your story.

In today’s post, I’ll be giving tips to guide you though this last week (and those extra four days of the following week) for each camp.

First, advise to those of you who are on track.

 

Celebrate your success, but don’t slack off

It is easy to take a look at your success and think you deserve a day off. Well, you do, and there is nothing wrong with giving yourself a break day after all your hard work. Just make sure that one rest day doesn’t snowball into several, or before you know it, the whole week will get away from you.

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Because there aren’t many words left in comparison to when we started this goal, it is easy to think that it is smooth sailing from here. You may think, “I’ve written 40,000 words so far, what’s another 10,000?  I can do that in two or three days. I don’t need a week and a half.”

It is great that you are feeling confident, but don’t let that (well-deserved) confidence influence you to make poor decisions.

If you want to give yourself a day off, make sure you come right back to it the next day. You’ve kept your daily writing commitment so far, don’t get off track now.

 

Use that almost-to-the-finish-line momentum, but don’t burn out

You may have the opposite reaction to being so close to the NaNoWriMo finish line and be ready to charge full speed ahead. This is generally how I get as NaNo draws to a close. Being so close to finishing gives me a renewed sense of excitement and determination (similar to week one). I start thinking that I should double my writing sessions or make a new, higher daily word-count goal.

I either do this because I’m thinking how good it will feel to finish early, or because I want to be an overachiever and have more than 50,000 words by the end of November.

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This never works, however. I end up maintaining my extreme, self-imposed goal for a few days, but then feel weighted down and burned out towards the end of the week.

I’ve learned to keep my original writing goal, but allow writing sessions to go longer if they do so naturally.

If you are so excited about writing the ending of your novel that you sit for six hours straight and pump out 8,000 words, then go for it. But don’t feel like you have to up the ante to finish early or to finish more of your novel because you are writing a Sci-fi or fantasy and know it won’t be finished in 50,000 words. (Yes, that last one is me 😀 ). Steady writing sessions is what got you this far, and steady writing session will carry you to the finish line.

Now, for advice to those of you who are a bit behind.

 

Be realistic

I could tell you that you should never give up on winning NaNo, no matter how far behind you are, but that would be cruel. I don’t know how far behind you are on your word count, and it could actually be impossible to write enough words everyday to finish on time.

I’m not saying that you should give up, but definitely take a few moments to calculate how many words you have left and how many you would need to write daily to finish (actually, the NaNoWriMo website will do this for you).

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If you need to write 10,000 words a day and you realistically only have an hour to write after work, well yes, it might be time to set NaNo aside (unless you have some writing ninja skills the rest of us mortals don’t have 😉 ).

If you know there is no way you can catch up at this point, skip down to You don’t have to write 50,000 words in a month to be a winner.

Other wise…

 

Don’t give up

If your words-per-day- goal is challenging but doable, than go for it! You may have to get creative in finding more time to write. You may have some long writing sessions and may have to give up doing some other things. But pushing yourself extra hard this week will be worth it, not just to win NaNo, but to finish your novel.

Think about it…you are going to have a finished NOVEL in just a little over a week! Isn’t that worth making some sacrifices for? (Okay, well it isn’t quite a finished novel…there’s still all the drafting and editing…but let’s not think about that just yet.)

Think about how amazing it will be to be able to say that you’ve written a novel. Anytime you began to feel overwhelmed when thinking about the sheer amount of words you have left, think about how good it will feel that you turned that story idea into a freaking, actual novel.

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Remember not to stress about making every scene perfect. The goal of NaNo is to force you to put words on the page. Those words don’t have to be perfect, they just have to be there.

Keep this quote in mind.

 “When I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.” –Shannon Hale

 

You don’t have to write 50,000 words in a month to be a winner

In the grand sceam of things, NaNo is just a month where we challenge ourselves to commit to writing everyday. It may feel life-consuming during November, but when December rolls around, life keeps moving just the way it always has.

Nothing terrible will happen if you don’t write 50,000 words by the end of the month. You won’t be forced to wear a badge that says “failed author” or made to delete your NaNo account. Your WIP will still be there after November.

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I know it is still disappointing to fall short of a goal, especially one we are so passionate about, but remind yourself that you tried your best. Sometimes unforeseen circumstances arise that put a halt to even the most carefully-laid plans.

Think about everything that happened this month. Maybe you got sick, or had an unexpected family or work emergency. Maybe you had to take on an extra project at work or had to work more hours. Maybe your classes at school or college were more challenging than expected and you couldn’t devote as much time to writing as you thought.

If something like this is the reason your are unable to complete NaNo, then don’t be hard on yourself. Celebrate the fact that you worked hard on your novel in spite of the fact that you had a lot of other things going on in your life.  You are courageous for committing to working towards your dream to write a novel.

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Maybe you are thinking over this month and see that there wasn’t anything that prevented you from sticking to your writing commitment.

Don’t feel bad about that either!

Maybe this was your first time trying NaNo and you found writing 1,677 words a day to be more challenging than you thought. You should be proud of yourself for trying something new!

Whatever the reason you are unable to complete NaNo, know that you didn’t fail because you didn’t reach 50,000 words. You won because you still wrote more words than you would have if you didn’t try. You won because you pushed yourself to grow as a writer.

Whether you are ahead or behind, finished already or unable to complete NaNo, we all have one thing in common. We took a chance in November to dream, to believe in ourselves as writers, and to believe in our stories.

No matter our word count, we are ending November as stronger writers with a better understanding of our stories.

NaNoWriMo Tips: Week One

NaNoWriMo Tips: Week Two

NaNoWriMo Tips: Week Three

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If you want to see if I finish NaNoWriMo or not, follow me on Instagram. I post updates in my stories. 🙂

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NoNoWriMo Tips: Week Three

 

Some people say that week two is the hardest, but I’ve always found the third week to be the most difficult to find motivation. Sure, in week two, some of the shininess and newness of NaNo and my WIP wears off, but there is still enough magic to keep me motivated.

If you can make it through week three, you are a hardened NaNo warrior.

It is week three that makes me question my sanity for signing up to write 50,000 words in a month, and leaves me certain that all these words are in vain because I’m going to delete the pile of nonsense as soon as the month is over.

To get through week three, here are some things to remember. (I’m sure I’m going to be rereading this myself.)

 

Your novel isn’t garbage.

At this point, you may feel like your novel is a heaping pile of garbage. No surprise, since you’ll be working your way through the middle of your novel, and that is notoriously the most difficult part to write.

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If you are ready to archive your novel’s folder in a place you’ll never have to look at it again and forget reaching that daunting 50,000 words, know that you aren’t alone. The great thing about NaNo is, you have thousands of other writers who are going through the same things you are.

Doesn’t make you feel better?

Yeah, knowing there are other people feeling as lost as I am on their novels didn’t make me feel better either. Why do NaNo Pep talks assume it does? 😀

Anyway, I do have something that will make you feel better. At least, this little exercise works for me.

Grab a sheet of paper or sticky note. Now, write down three things that you really like about what you’ve written so far. It could be a scene, a character who has really come to life in this draft, a favorite line of dialogue. Or even the fact that you’ve written half a novel!

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Keep this list somewhere you can see it. Stick it on your computer screen. Place it on your desk. Read it before you start writing or any time you feel like giving up.

Sure, there may be some things about your WIP that need fixing, but that’s why we don’t stop with the first draft. No one’s first draft is ready for publication. Focus on the things you are proud of, and remember that the purpose of a first draft is just to get the words on the page so you’ll have something to work with later.

 

Don’t be stressed about falling behind.

You may be a little behind at this point. Or maybe you are way behind and are scared you’ll never catch up.

First, take a deep breath.

What is going to happen if you don’t reach 50,000 words? Will the NaNo police come nab you and give you a life sentence that forbids you from writing? Will all the other NaNo writers show up to your house to shame you for not completing NaNo?

Sorry to disappoint you if you were hoping they’d post your picture on the home page with the words NaNo’s Biggest Loser underneath, but nothing so grandly dramatic is going to happen.

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If for some reason you aren’t able to catch up and the end of November comes around to find your novel at 40,000 words or 25,000 words, then so what? Nothing bad happens. You can keep working on your story in December. You can walk away from NaNo knowing that you have more words down than if you didn’t participate.

But don’t give up on reaching that goal just yet. NaNo is full of ups and downs. You may be in a writing slump today, but tomorrow may bring a 5,000-word writing sprint that catches you up.

You still have the rest of this week and week four. You may be surprised at how many words you can crank out as NaNo comes to an end. 🙂

Remember why you started.

Why did you chose to write this story? Was it because you fell in love with the characters? Because the plot was absolutely thrilling? Because the world you imagined was stunning?

12 New Year's Resolutions from Disney Princesses – As Told by Laura

Reach back to those things that made you excited to start on this story. Pretend you are getting the story idea for the first time. Close your eyes and imagine that first scene you saw, or the first character that came to you. Spend a few minutes going through the first notes you took, or write something new that focuses on that one thing that made you excited to start writing back on November first.

You may choose to write a paragraph of your favorite character rambling to you, or bring more detail to a worldbuilding aspect, or dive deeper into a plot twist.

Remembering why you started writing this story will give you the strength to keep writing. Your characters deserve it, your world deserves it, you deserve it.

Keep writing! After this week, next week will fly by.

 

NaNoWriMo Tips: Week One

NaNoWriMo Tips: Week Two

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NaNoWriMo Tips: Week Two

We’ve made it to week two! If week one went well, your excitement and motivation is probably still high. I am still riding the high of finishing a whole week of NaNoWriMo and ready to see even more progress this week.

Having said this, I know this enthusiasm is about to take a dive as quickly as my energy when a caffeine high wears off.

Which leads me to my first tip about week two of NaNo…

Enjoy the NaNo high, but don’t count on it.

Enjoy the rush while you can, but don’t count on it pulling you though the month.

I don’t say this to scare you. But on my first NaNo, around this time I was thinking, “This is pretty easy. I’m so motivated. NaNo is like a magic elixir giving me writing superpowers!”

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Then disaster hits….

Okay, that was a bit dramatic, but all that sparkly NaNo magic usually disappears by the end of week two or beginning of week three. If you aren’t ready for it, you may wonder what went wrong. Or decide that because writing isn’t as exciting as it was during week one, that something is wrong with your story.

I’m warning you now. Be prepared to have those rose-colored, NaNo glasses ripped off your face, but don’t let the change in scenery make you quit.

Celebrate your progress.

When the rush of excitement leaves, keep your motivation by looking at the progress you’ve made. You are probably around the 11,000 to 16,000 word mark by this time (depending on when you are reading this).

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That is a large chunk of your novel! You’ve written more words than you would have in a normal writing week/week and a half. Take a moment to congratulate yourself on your progress.

Celebrate your wins, and don’t worry that it doesn’t feel as new and shiny as it did in week one.

Don’t delete words.

I am guilty of stopping to rework sentences and paragraphs while writing the first draft. Editing while drafting may seem like you are giving yourself a smoother draft to go over later, but if your goal is to write 1,667 words in an hour and a half, you are going to fall behind quickly if you stop to reread and rewrite every paragraph.

Rereading also leads to deleting words. Lines of dialogue that sound stiff, descriptions that are bland, or awkward sentences beg to be deleted. But every time you delete a sentence, you are shortening your word count and making it more difficult to reach your goal for that day.

Speed Reading GIFs | Tenor

I get it. Sometimes it is unavoidable to read over the last lines. I’m not saying that you should never look back at what you wrote. Just be careful not to spend too much time trying to rework a paragraph or find the “perfect” adjective to describe your character’s home-knit sweater.

If you find yourself cringing at something you wrote and your finger is hovering over the delete key, do this instead; Put a line through it.  This way it still counts towards your word count, but you don’t have to worry that you won’t catch it when reading over your draft later.

Remember to give yourself a break.

Chances are, you’ve lived, breathed, and ate NaNo for the last week. That word-count goal is the first thing on your mind when you wake up, your next scene is the thing you daydream about in traffic, and your characters are there to talk your ear off before you go to sleep.  (If it hasn’t been this way for you, then I’m not sure whether to congratulate you or to tell you to step up your level of commitment. 😉 )

In the whirlwind that is the first week, you may be able to keep up a hectic pace, but most of us won’t be able to keep that same level of intensity for the whole month.

Of course staying motivated, working hard, and exercising your self-discipline is important, but you don’t want to burn out before the month is over.

Taking A Break GIFs | Tenor

Make sure that you carve out a time during the week NOT to think about NaNo, word counts, or that one character that might as well be replaced by a plant for all the lifeless dialogue they spit out.

I like to give myself Sunday off. I write much better during the week when I have one day to recharge. To do this, I need to write more words during the week or double the words on Saturday. This way, I’m not falling behind during my break day and having to play catch up when I start back. This would defeat the purpose of a break day because I would spend it feeling guilty that I’d purposely made the decision to fall behind or worrying that I wouldn’t be able to make the double word-count goal the next day.

It gives me an extra 277 words a day (or 3,334 words on Saturday), but it is worth it to me to have a guiltless break during the week.

Even if you prefer not to take a whole day off, or can’t take a whole day off, carve out some time during the week to give yourself permission to give your writer’s brain a rest. Take a walk, soak in a bath, or listen to an audiobook.

Only Disney

Giving yourself a scheduled time to take a guilt-free break makes it less likely that you will be too burned out to write one day and fall behind. It is much harder to write double the words when we perceive that we are behind or have “failed” than it is to write double the words when we see it as getting ahead or doing extra.

Now that you are ready for week two, get to writing! 😉 I’ll be back next week, and we’ll conquer week three together.

NaNoWriMo Tips: Week One

NaNoWriMo Tips: Week Three

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NaNoWriMo Tips: Week One

Today is the first day of National Novel Writing Month! I am stoked to be doing this again after taking a few years off.  I’m also a bit nervous because it feels like my first time all over again.

I took some time to think about how I completed NaNoWriMo in previous years….what worked and didn’t work…what helped me get through the month. Because I don’t have enough writing to do this month, I decided to write them all down and share them with you. 😉

I’ll be walking you through each week of NaNo as they come, so you won’t be alone in the ups and down that come with writing 50,000 words in a month.

These posts will give you an expectation of the unique challenges each week brings and the tools to overcome those challenges so you can finish your novel (or if you are a long-winded writer like me, half of your novel).

Week one is the easiest, since we are excited and motivated to start. But there are still a few things to keep in mind during this week to set yourself up for success for the rest of the month.

Set time aside to write in advance.

Thinking that you will do it “whenever you have time that day” usually means that everything else pulling for your attention is what you do instead. Having a set time will ensure that you don’t get to the end of your day and realize you have a mound of words to write.

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No one wants to stay up two hours past their bedtime to write (well, unless inspiration hits 🙂 ). Or even worse, go days without writing, and then have to write 10,000 words in one day to catch up.

Everyone’s optimal time to write is different. You may want to get up earlier for a before-work writing session, or you may find that writing after dinner works best for you.

It is okay if this time you set aside fluctuates a bit. In my previous years of NaNo, I did the majority of my writing in the evenings, but also had my share of writing sessions before I left for work just to change things up a bit.

Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t reach your daily word-count goal.

This one kills me. I use to feel like I “lost” that day if I didn’t write those 1,667 words, even if I did my intended writing session. The fact that I’d used all of my scheduled writing time and still didn’t reach the daily goal made me feel worse. I felt that I’d “wasted” it because I would be starting the next day out at a deficit.

Don’t do this! Allowing yourself to feel like you “didn’t make it” that day will only make you lose momentum, and it will be harder to start writing the next day.

Instead of thinking that you somehow “failed” that day, remind yourself that you showed up and wrote for the amount of time you said promised yourself you would.

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If you have a set time to write and you actually sat yourself down and got some words out during that time, then you win for that day.

I’ve learned that word count ebbs and flows during NaNoWriMo. One day you barely make 1,000 and others you write 3,000. Don’t sweat it if you fall behind. You’ll make it up another day.

Be creative in finding time to write.

During my previous NoNoWriMos, I was lucky enough to have a job that went though waves of business, and then would be completely dead, so I would always bring my laptop incase I had some spare time to work on my story.

If you don’t have that luxury, you may still be able to squeeze in some writing time on you lunch break. Of course this depends on how long your break is and how long it takes to get to a nearby restaurant and get your order. You may want to bring your own lunch for this month to give you a bit of extra time.

If writing during lunch isn’t an option, you can still sneak in some “writing.”

For days I knew it would be too busy to bother bringing my laptop out, I could still jot some notes about what might happen in the next scene or add something to a character’s backstory.

It wasn’t adding to my word count, but it did save me some time when I sat down to write later. I would already have some idea how the scene would go, or I wouldn’t have to stop and think why this character would react this way because of the notes I took earlier.

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If your job is so demanding that you’re laughing and shaking your head at the thought of even taking a few notes on your phone, don’t sweat it. This is why you have you designated time to write.

Enjoy it!

The most important thing to do during NaNo is to enjoy it. Sure, you are going to have your ups and downs during the month, but overall you should have a deep satisfaction that you are making such huge progress on your WIP.

Enjoy the ride! I’ll be back next week for tips on how to make week two a success. 🙂

NaNoWriMo Tips: Week Two

NaNoWriMo Tips: Week Three

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To Do or Not to Do NaNoWriMo?

Hey Epic Dreamers!
This is the first year in 6 that I’m not doing NaNoWriMo.  It’s become such a big part of my life that I’m emotional about not being able to participate this year.
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But as much as I would like to, my writing cycle doesn’t align with NaNo this year like it has in previous years. Usually I would time it so that I was ready to write a first draft of a story every November, but The Blood Debt is taking longer to get through than I thought and I don’t even have an idea for a new story (well I have a ton jotted down in a folder, but none cultivated enough to start a first draft of).
I wouldn’t have the time to work on edits and write 50,000 words on a new project as well anyway.
So, it looks like NaNo will have to be be skipped this year.
Even though I’m skipping this year for a good cause (editing my WIP) I still feel a bit like I’m giving up, quitting, missing out…
This will be the first time is 6 years that I won’t feel the satisfaction of adding yet another year to my winning streak and that irks me way more than it should.
I’ll just have to focus on the fact that NaNo is a tool to help authors start and finish books. It’s a means to an end. It isn’t completing NaNo that really counts but completing a manuscript….but oh how I will miss adding another  “finished” novel to my profile. 😉
How many of you are doing NaNoWriMo this year? (It’s okay…go ahead and rub it in.)

Join me for tons more fun, writing tips, and a glimpse into the daily life of a writer!

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Growing as a Writer: NaNoWriMo

If you aren’t familiar with NaNoWriMo and you are an aspiring writer, you should go to their site and sign up right now.

Seriously, what are you waiting for?

Okay, really though, NaNo played a huge part in getting me to take my writing seriously and in motivated me to take my writing to new levels.

If you’ve somehow never come across this magical place and time for writers, I’ll explain what and how NaNo works.

Image result for magic gif

Let’s start for what this strange group of letters means: National Novel Writing Month.

It’s exactly what it sounds like; Writers from across the country band together to do the unthinkable and write an entire novel (50,000 to be more accurate) in a month.

It all takes place online, so no need to travel to another state of pay for a conference. 🙂

When does this mad rush begin? November! So for those of you who haven’t heard of it and want to try it, this is perfect timing. You can still do some last-minute planning before November and NaNo begins.

If you aren’t sure if you want to participate, well, I’m about to make you want to. 😉

 

Gives you a support group

Writing a novel can be a lonely process. Even if you aren’t writing a novel and write short stories or flash fiction for your blog, it can be difficult to find others who enjoy writing fiction like you do.

NaNo gives you a way to meet other writers so you aren’t so alone in this this solitary art.

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Pushes you to your edge

When I participated in my first NaNo, I’d never wrote 50,000 words in one project before. My largest story at the time was about 12,000 words. So yeah, taking on NaNo was a leap for me, but it pushed me to write more than I thought I could and taught me that I had more in me than what I was using.

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Sure that first NaNo project was a mess that I would never show anyone (I should probably go back and read it so I can get a good laugh), but with every year that I participated, my writing and word count per writing session improved.

I  began to create plots easier, get to the essence of a character faster, and writing scenes came more naturally.

I even wrote the first draft of my book, The Hashna Stone, during NaNo. 🙂

 

Gives you a rush of accomplishment

If you feel stuck in your writing, want to challenge yourself, or just want to explore working on a bigger project, NaNo is perfect for that.

I knew what I wrote for that first NaNo project would never be used for a published book (or even shown to a single person) but I’d never felt more proud then when I verified my word count and officially wrote my first 50,000-word novel (which is actually a really small novel, but it was a lot of words for a single story than I’d ever done before 😛 ).

If you don’t do it for another reason, do it to prove to yourself that you are a writer. Sometimes you need to prove to yourself that you can do it…that you take writing seriously enough to make it a priority.

Completing NaNo gives you a different mindset.  “Oh I’m just playing around with this writing thing,” becomes “I am a writer. There’s no reason I can’t write a book just like all the authors I look up to.”

Once you do that, writing a 140,000-word novel seems more possible (looking at you Hashna Stone 😛 ) and you go from aspiring writer to writer. 

All that said, you better join NaNo this November. *wink*

If you want to do NaNo together, look me up. I’ll be happy to be your NaNo buddy! My user name is AnnaFoxwrites. Or just click here

Oh, and since I’ll be busy novel writing, I won’t be posting for the month of November…as is my custom. 😉

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So, I Cheated on NaNoWriMo

Hey there Epic Dreamers! 
It’s been a while since I’ve said that. I think since early November. It feels good to be back after two months of auto posting. I hope I didn’t forget how to write a post. 😛

The month of November was NaNoWriMo, so I spent the month attempting to get 50000 words down. I’ve done this a few times before, but this time I made it harder on myself and tried to get those words out of a detailed outline and not a first draft, which is the best way to utilize NaNo. I didn’t do this on purpose (who would torture themselves like that?). I had just finished my fourth draft of The Hashna Stone the day before NaNo (Bad timing right? All those words going uncounted). But I couldn’t waste the opportunity to use the motivation NaNo gives to push myself, not to mention I really an addicted to NaNo and the thought of interrupting my winning streak was too much for me to bear. For every year won, a little flame decorates the year of participation. My OCDness wouldn’t let year  5 go without the flame.

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So I decided to use November to work on a detailed outline of book two of The Hashna Stone

The problem was that outlining starts with brainstorm, and while sometimes that includes sitting at the computer and word vomiting, it also includes a bunch of walking in circles while muttering to yourself. In the brainstorming process, there is a lot of time spent away from the computer. Needless to say, this didn’t help my word count. I did write a more detailed outline than what I did for The Hashna Stone (which I think will make the actual writing of the book easier, and it allowed my to do a bunch of cool things that would be a mess if I tried to figure it out in the first draft). I also did some world building and character development that added some words to my floundering word count, but in the end I was still about 10,000 words short.

So what did I do? I cheated of course. 

cheated

I took the words from the last three chapters I rewrote in The Hashna Stone and added it to my word count. 

This seemed fair because I did think about waiting for NaNo to write those chapters since it was only a week and a half away, but I couldn’t stand to hold myself back from writing. Life does that enough without me doing it to myself. So I went ahead and wrote them, naively thinking that I would still have enough words to write. 

I may not have the words, but I still put the time in. I could have blabbed on for 10,000 words about nothing, but I would have rather used that time to come up with terrible situations to put my characters in. When you spend two hours going over possibilities in your head and come away with two sentences, it’s unfair to measure success by a word count. In one month, I went from having no clue what would happen in the second book to figuring out everything from beginning to end.

So yes, I borrowed 10,000 words from the week before November and didn’t actually write all the words in November. But I did reach my goal for the month: to have a detailed outline. Moving forward with the story matters more than a certain number of words. Isn’t that why we do NaNo in the first place?

I guess you’re going to call the NaNo police on me and I’ll be put in a room with no laptop, no pen and paper, and ordered to refinance from writing while serving my time. 
But I still think it was worth it, just to have those little fires all in a row.

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NaNoWriMo Taught Me: It’s Okay to be a Slow Writer

This is the last installment of my little NaNo taught me series. We’ve already talked about why skipping scenes isn’t a bad thing and why it’s okay to write a terrible first chapter in spite of all the pressure to write a perfect one.

Today’s topic may seem counterintuitive. Can you even call yourself a writer if you only type 500 words an hour? How will your novel ever be finished if your a slow writer?

My answer is, you have to start somewhere.

My first year doing NaNo I thought writing 50,000 words in a month was impossible. I’d never written 50,000 words on a single project in my life. I felt like I’d climbed to the top of Mount Everest every day I reached 1,667 (which is how much you need to write a day to reach 50,000 words in a month). And if I happened to go 200 words over…I was freaking Wonder Woman!

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Fast forward three more years of NaNo and writing 1,667 words is no longer a challenge. That’s what I do on an off day. This year of NaNo I wrote 2,000 to 3,000 words most days. There were a few days I really nailed it and wrote 5,000 words. I actually finished NaNo on November 21, which was 9 days early.

Just to show you the amount of words I put out when I first started, here is a shot of the excel spread sheet I used to keep track of the words I wrote for a story I was working on in 2015. This wasn’t for NaNo (I don’t have a spread sheet for my first NaNo), but a project I started a few months after. From the small numbers and many skipped days, you can see why it was such a big accomplishment that I finished 50,000 words in a month.

Feb 2015

Two years ago, I only wrote 12,000 in a month. Now I can write that amount in a week.

Nov. 2017

It’s okay if you feel like a a snail slushing through mud could write a book faster. That’s how I felt when I first started, but if you keep writing you’ll build speed.

As great as speeding up my words per week is, the best thing doing NaNo taught me wasn’t how to put words down faster. It was continuing to write after NaNo was finished.

After my first year, the moment November was over I didn’t write a thing (besides blog posts of course). Two months went by before I decided to start another project like that. I’d ran my marathon. It was time for lounging on the couch with chips and dip.

What I learned from the last four years of doing NaNo was that you don’t just write seriously during November. The best way to finish your work in progress isn’t to have a super power of typing out 1,000 words in 30 minutes, but to keep writing continuously. Making writing part of your routine isn’t just something to do during November, but all year long. Keep the writing spirit as enthusiastically as Buddy keeps the Christmas spirit. 😉

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You may start out only writing 100 words a day, but if you keep at it you’ll find your words-per-day slowing increasing. Even if they don’t (which is as impossible as a weightlifter not gaining strength after dedicating themselves to training every day) you’ll still be farther along then you would have if you only got serious about writing one month a year.

Don’t be discouraged because you don’t write as fast as you would like to. You have to start somewhere. The more you do it, the better you will get.

I still consider myself a slow writer. I’ll never be Brandon Sanderson and write 300,000 in a year. But slow writers who keep writing will put out a lot more books than a fast writer who doesn’t write consistently.

No one said you had to be faster than a snail through mud. You just have to have the guts to keep writing.

 

 

NaNoWriMo taught me it's okay to be a slow writer

 

Do you consider yourself to be a slow writer? What’s the most you’ve written in a day? If you want to pick up your speed, you should head over to an amazing little site I discovered called 4thewords.com. You get to fight monsters by word count. It’s super fun! I wrote 1,000 words in 45 minutes because of this site. 🙂

 

Other posts in this series:

NaNoWriMo Taught Me: It’s Okay to Skip Scenes

NaNoWriMo Taught Me: It’s Okay to Write a Terrible First Chapter