NaNoWriMo Update: How I Won!

Last night I hit the big 50k. I was so excited as I got closer and closer to my goal and it  made it easier  as I saw the remaining amount I had to write dwindle and dwindle. Once I was halfway, I knew I could finish because, well, I’d already written as much as I still had to write. Does that  make sense?

I will probably keep writing, my story can have a little more to it I think. Plus I’m already in the habit, and since I’ve already made it to 50,000 words I don’t have the stress of needing to write every day, now it’s all just fun. Not that it wasn’t before, but there were definitely some days I felt like I was forcing myself to put anything I could think of on the page.

I thought, since I’ve passed my goal, I would share some of the things I did to be able to win.

Encouragement From Others

I don’t use Facebook very often anymore, but I started again once I was doing NaNo, updating my status with my word count. I got a surprisingly large amount of support in the form of likes of those statuses. It made me feel good that people were out there somewhere cheering me on and sharing in my accomplishments. Once when I was feeling really stuck in my story, I even posted for help for ideas and got a lot of cool responses. I also posted in our celebration thread on the NaNo forum for my region, posting whenever I hit a big goal and seeing others make it to their goals as well.

Write-Ins

Even though it was completely anxiety-ridden and outside my comfort zone, I went to write ins. I didn’t get huge word counts when I was there, but they did give me a large amount of time where I was forced to write, or at least try. Plus it’s nice to be able to talk about your story to other people and share in your successes.

NaNoWordSprints on Twitter

I could not have written as much as I did without @NaNoWordSprints. If you’re writing, they are amazing. Basically what word sprints are is whoever is hosting the sprints at the time gives you an allotted amount of time, say twenty minutes, starting at a certain time, and you write as much as you can in that time without stopping. Then when the sprint is over you can share your word count for that sprint on Twitter with everyone else who is sprinting alongside you. Sometimes they give out fun prompts too, which I used a lot of the time. Sometimes it just meant throwing in a word I might not have used otherwise, sometimes they gave me a whole different part of the plot to add in. I think I wrote probably 75% of what I wrote during word sprints.

The other thing about word sprints that I found immensely helpful was they gave me a good idea of how much I can write in a certain amount of time. Thinking you have to sit down and write 1,667 words is scary. Knowing you can write 800 words in a thirty minute sprint, or 200 words in a ten minute sprint, makes that number so much less daunting. Aiming for those smaller  numbers, knowing they would add up to my daily goal, kept me going.

Taking It Slow

I am lucky to have plenty of time to write since I don’t have a full time job. I didn’t have to force myself to write as fast as possible trying to crank out words. I took lots of breaks, some of which were given by the word sprint folks, some of which I gave myself. I also took two whole days off where I didn’t even look at my novel.

Not Stopping At The Daily Goal

I very rarely stopped writing at the daily goal of 1,667 words. Obviously, or I wouldn’t have gotten so far in such a short amount of time. Once I was in the rhythm of writing, I just didn’t want to stop.

First Person and Dialogue

I wrote  my novel in the first person, which was immensely helpful to me. As a blogger, I am used to writing from the first person. Every other time I’ve tried to write, I always wrote third person and it was always just a mess. I realized that this type of writing is what is most comfortable for me. I also had a lot of characters and wrote a lot of dialogue, also something that was really comfortable for me. When I try to be super descriptive, I just stare at the screen in a stupor. So I didn’t try to do it. I stuck with what was comfortable, and it helped a lot.

Outlining & Pantsing

I started my novel with an outline, got through it when I was halfway through my novel, and pantsed the rest. I think both have great benefits. The outlining part at the beginning was exactly what I needed. I knew where my story was going and didn’t have to think too hard about where I was going next. My outline, mind you, was just about three pages in a small notebook that overviewed the story. It was nothing fancy. Once my outline was over and I was just writing haphazardly, I let my characters show me where the story was going and that was fun too.

So that’s what I did. If you are reading this because you are participating in NaNo, ignore everything I just said and remember that every word you write matters! This is your story. Write it, and don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. I am no fancy writer, I’m just a blogger who’s been trying to win at NaNo for six years, failing miserably each time. In the past, every year, I start writing on day one, write less than the goal, feel like a failure, go to a write in, don’t write as much as everyone else, then give up after the first week. But this year was different, and it can be for you too!

 

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NaNoWriMo Day Six Update – Halfway, but with a twist.

I made it to 25,000 words! What!?

I’ve just been sitting in my garage, chain smoking and writing. I’m using NaNoWordSprints on Twitter and if I wasn’t, I probably wouldn’t have written as much as I have. If you’re doing NaNoWriMo and you haven’t done word sprints, do it!

So far I got all the way through my original outline, so the hard part now on the downward slope is going to be coming up with completely new material I didn’t think up already. My characters had a destination and got there. So now they have a new one and I need to just think up some good hurdles along the way. Or I could just kill my main character, which apparently is like a thing that people do sometimes when they get halfway. I don’t have any plans to do that or anything, but hey, it’s on the table.

So needless to say I am a very happy NaNo-er this go round. But wait, there’s more. My medication ran out and of course I didn’t realize I didn’t have any refills left. So I let my new doctor know. They were willing to refill my Zoloft and Abilify, even though this doctor didn’t prescribe them, but my Depakote, the one she did prescribe a long time ago when I went to her the first go round (I had her as my PCP, changed doctors, now I’m back with her) she won’t fill. The nurse practitioner or whoever it is that responded to my refill request said I need a level check because I “haven’t been on the medication for a year.” What? I’ve been on the medication since she gave me the prescription for it the first time.  But anyway, I have to wait for that I guess, and now I’m out, which totally freaks me out in the worst way. No mood stabilizer. Maybe it’s good I’ve written so much now for NaNo, so that if later I’m not feeling it I will have a lot of words as backup. But having a lot of words in my novel isn’t going to help me in regular life if my mood goes haywire.

Okay I have to stop talking about it or it’s going to frazzle my nerves.

Don’t forget to be awesome.

Frivolous Wants: Novel Writing Edition

It’s National Novel Writing Month. Yes! What better way to take a break from your novel than to do a little shopping.

nanowrimo crewneck

They’ve got a bajillion shirts and sweatshirts but this is the one I love most. From the NaNoWriMo store.

nanowrimo usb bracelet

How cool is a flash drive bracelet? I have wanted one of these since I first started doing NaNoWriMo. From the NaNoWriMo store.

No Plot No Problem by Chris Baty

The book that helps you along. I wish I had a copy but alas, I don’t. When you buy from the store, you get an autographed copy. Pretty cool. Written by Chris Baty, the founder of NaNoWriMo. From the NaNoWriMo store.

nanowrimo word warrier keychain

I think this is the cutest. From MichelleMach.

nanowrimo book conquest patch

It’s like a girl scout patch for NaNoWriMo! From Patch Fever.

nanowrimo planner flag stickers

My only planner is for blogging, but still, I would stick these in there for sure. From Planning With Erin.

NaNowrimo little book

This adorable mini writer’s journal would be perfect for those little ideas you get in the middle of the night. From Paper Chocolate Press.

NaNoWriMo: Off And Running

Hey guys. As you know, I’m doing NaNoWriMo this year (click the link if you’ve never heard of it, it’s the best!) This is my sixth year and sixth attempt, and I have never “won” before, meaning I have never gotten to the 50,000 word goal.

I think this year is going to be my year.

I’m hoping to blog my progress here, not my actual story mind you (that would be intimidating to post) but just how it’s going and my word count and all that.

To win NaNoWriMo, you need to write 1,667 words for every single day of the month. I’m already ahead of the game with 2,360 words written today! And it’s only 6:35 a.m. in my time zone. Ha. Nicole said to keep trucking along. We’ll see how I’m feeling later in the day. There’s also a library write-in from 1-5pm so I could go to that if I’m feeling up for it. It’s in a location I’ve never been to so that makes my anxiety say no but my heart says yes! So we’ll see how that goes too.

I know that it’s best to write a lot in the beginning when you’re excited to give you easier days at the end, but right now, I’m feeling very good and comfortable with what I’ve done. I actually have an outline this year, something I’ve never done before, and I think there’s at least a chance I can make this work.

The story I decided on is the one I wrote about in this post, basically it’s zombie at a college campus with the ‘hero’ trying to get across campus to rescue his girlfriend with a ton of obstacles along the way. Mostly zombies, of course. I’m also writing in first-person, like a journal style so that is a lot like blogging and much easier to wrap my mind around. Actually, I could make it like a blog if I wanted because at this point in my story’s world the internet hasn’t gone down or anything. It’s right at the beginning.

I’m thinking I can do some “research” by rewatching Fear The Walking Dead and The Walking Dead and maybe some other zombie favorites while I work this month. I’m pretty stoked about that.

Anyways, I’m very excited for this great start to the month. My anxiety wants me to not go to write ins but I want to, so right now that’s my biggest concern, instead of word count, which is great. If you are writing a novel this month too, please leave a comment and let me know! I would love to follow you and we can share our triumphs.