Nanowrimo 2019: A New Approach

Yes, I’m late getting around to chatting about my plans for November, on account of coming down with a cold at the end of October. It’s still lingering, mostly a cough now, but it hasn’t stopped me, just slowed me down a little.

About a week before November, I decided (on a whim) to participate in NaNoWriMo this year. For those of you not familiar with this online event, November is National Novel Writing Month. Over 30 days, writers are challenged to write 50k words. The challenge is geared toward writing novels, but some writers draft screenplays instead, and others write a short story every day for the month.

The first time I participated in NaNoWriMo was back in 2016. Back then, my approach was simple. I needed to write about 1,666 words a day to accomplish the challenge, so that’s what I set out to do.

Working from an outline of the story, I started off strong, overshooting the word count goals each day. Over the next week and a half, my daily word count started going down. Then, I had to take a day off because my mind shut down. This happened twice during the month, and yet I still finished the challenge several days early.

Since 2016, my discipline has evolved. I rarely write on Fridays or Saturdays, which gives me a break from being on the computer. Consequently, my output per session has increased. Nowadays, I can bang out 2k or more in a session and still be good to go again day after day until the next break. However, most days I average anywhere from 500-1k words. Why so little?

Though I love to write, I hate doing something over twice, which means I’m not a fan of rewriting. Producing quality first drafts is more important to me than output of words. Quality of writing is, in fact, what prevented me from doing NaNoWriMo the next year. The first draft of the project I wrote in 2016 turned out a lot of a bad writing. Most of it will need to be re-written.

Yet, here I am again, doing NaNoWriMo to see how I manage it this time. Because accomplishing this challenge is more than just sitting on your ass in a chair and writing, it’s about managing yourself and the project(s) you work on, even if that means scheduling a day off here and there to take a break.

This year, my project and approach for the challenge is to write five short novellas set in the Xiinisi storyverse, each ranging from 10-15k words. Each novella will be written in a five day stint, with a day off before beginning the next one.

So, how is it going so far?

Let’s see, I started writing on the November 2nd, leaving only four days to write the first novella. The first novella has ten sections. Eight of those sections are written, totaling 11,116 words so far. I will start on the last two sections after I finish this update.

With a week to prepare, only the first novella and part of the second have been outlined, which means I will be developing and outlining the others throughout the challenge.

Now that I’m essentially back on track with the challenge, I’m doing very well managing both mind and body, by breaking up the writing throughout the day when I can.

In the next update, I’ll go into more detail about why I chose to write novellas, how I’ve broken them down, and how I make my work area conducive to productivity. In the meantime, expect more updates than usual during November. In addition to NaNoWriMo, the website and newsletter will be undergoing a bit of a revamp.

Now, it’s time to get back to the challenge!

Image of Jim Carrey typing quickly.

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