I’ve been largely absent from my blog for the majority of November, but I wanted to take the opportunity to cover my first attempt at National Novel Writing Month.
First Week - Bright-Eyed and Bushy-Tailed
I work Monday through Friday, exactly 9am-5am which an English teacher once told me that such working hours did not exist. Anyway, I also take care of most of the adult responsibilities around my house so there’s not much time for me to do anything else.
I thought I could beat the busy part of my day and fit my writing earlier in the day by joining the 5am Writer’s Club. And I did it! November 1st, I jumped out of my bed without hitting the snooze button and started writing. Luckily, I participated in Preptober so I had my outline and other materials, a method which works best for me. For more about Preptober, look for my prep articles at the end of this one.
Week One flew by and not only was I hitting my word counts, I exceeded them by huge margins. On the weekend, I managed to write over 10,000 words which is great for me. I’ve never written a novel before or much else outside a couple poems and a novella work in progress, much less 10,000 words in two days. I’m also a painfully slow typist. I can reach the minimum 1,667 word count in an hour and a half so about 500 words in 30 minutes.
Total Word Count for Week One: 15,681
Second Week - Keep the Momentum Going
I expected to lose momentum after the first week, but I didn’t as much as I feared. Riding high from my first week, I maintained a slight lead even after taking a day off from writing. I have therapy on Tuesday nights which ends at 8pm so it’s difficult for me to fit in the writing before I go to bed an hour later for work the next morning.
The 5am Writer’s Club? I didn’t join again after that first day. I haven’t been able to wake up before 7am for the past year and even that feels impossible at times. Some people wake up earlier and earlier as they age, like my husband, but I find myself sleeping as late as possible.
I’ll cover this in my next post, but this was the weekend I made a writer’s retreat at a local hotel for myself. I wrote about this idea, with a link to the original article, in my first post about NaNoWriMo here.
Long story short, it went well but I didn’t get as many words down as I did the weekend before even though I was alone and out of the house. However, I did manage to break through 25,000 words which is halfway through NaNoWriMo!
Total Word Count for Week Two: 25,346
Third Week - Sludging Through the Word Mire
I started to wonder when the writing wall would hit me - I wouldn’t call it writer’s block exactly - and it hit the Monday after my writing retreat. It wasn’t that I hated the scenes I was writing because they were some of the plot points I was looking forward to hitting. I worked toward the middle of Samantha Darkened with purpose with an approach from James Scott Bell’s Write Your Novel From The Middle: A New Approach for Plotters, Pantsers and Everyone in Between where he outlines that in every great story, the protagonist is forced to reevaluate or realize a truth about themselves halfway through the novel. I highly recommend the book and it’s helped me “muddle through the middle” as some writers would say.
I don’t know what it was, but I wanted to write less and spend more time with my family and catching up with my favorite movies and television shows.
If you’re a member of the Harry Potter fandom, then you know that this week signaled the release of the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them original screenplay by J.K. Rowling and the feature film. I have been excited about this movie since the release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child this summer and even had a friend hunt down a copy of the standalone book since it seemed to be out of print before the film, no doubt so it could be re-released once the movie hit theaters this fall.
With everything else going on, I managed to get behind in NaNoWriMo by over 6,000 words. I spent yesterday trying to write, but I couldn’t pick up on the scene and didn’t find my footing until about 8pm yesterday. Once everything clicked, I wrote until early this morning and I’m only behind under 4,000 words. Given my performance earlier this month, I know I can reach this goal today if I really focus even with Thanksgiving around the corner. I’m confident I can break the 30,000 word mark and approach the middle of my novel at some point today.
Total Word Count as of November 20, 2016 at 12:30pm: 29,288
Summary - Into the Wild Blue Yonder
There are ten days left in NaNoWriMo and while I know I can finish, a part of me still isn’t sure. I never thought that I had enough content or gusto to make it this far, but I’ve learned so much about writing in the past three months preparing for Samantha Darkened.
Writing isn’t always a joy at times, but I enjoy the feeling of getting a flowing rhythm with a scene and running with it. Maybe my book is complete garbage, but I’m so glad I participated in this event. I’ll cover more tips and tricks in future posts for those just starting to write and a new perspective for more experienced writers. Until then, I look forward to learning more about the craft and about my characters. They really do surprise me some days.
How is NaNoWriMo going for you so far? If you haven’t already, feel free to add me as a Writing Buddy (rosellasweet) and we can cheer each other on until the end! Be sure to comment with your thoughts below or give me a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Nicole C. Thomas
Nicole is a writer working on her first novel Samantha Darkened, created during NaNoWriMo 2016. She writes weekly posts regarding books, writing, and mental illness. She has an interesting sense of humor which includes a love of alliteration and puns.