It’s over two thirds of the way through my first Nanowrimo, (if you’ve missed what that is, it stands for NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth, where writers are challenged to write 50,000 words of their novel over the thirty days of November), and I thought it was time for an update.
It’s been interesting.
First off, I’ve been typing directly rather than writing longhand first. There are still times when I itch to doodle with a pen and see what ideas come through, but on the whole it’s been much easier than I’d thought. (This could save me a fortune in notebooks, but leave people scuppered for Christmas present ideas.)
Typing directly has made me realise that
a) I can do it! And
b) I write more than I’d realised.
You see, when you’re writing longhand you tend to only count the finished text, not the notes or the errors. By participating in word sprints I’ve found that I average out at about 200 words in ten minutes. I’m quite impressed with myself.
I’ve set up a Nano file in Scrivener with a fresh document for each day of November. In the notes section on the side I record the target word count for the day, and what was actually achieved.
Initially I started out at the standard 1,667 words per day and was easily going over that. That’s just as well as weekends are so busy I don’t get much writing done, so it all balances out. I’ve taken to looking at the remaining word count on a daily basis and dividing that between my remaining ‘writing’ days to work out my daily targets. Then I’ve generally aimed for 2,500 per day anyway to give myself a comfortable buffer in case some kind of disaster strikes.
I mentioned word sprints earlier. This is where people write for an agreed time, then record their word count at the end. My ‘Team Holly’ nano group has a chat room set up for this. You sign in, say hello, and whoever was first starts the timer for ten minutes. At the end of that we compare counts and cheer each other on. I’ve found it great for focusing. Where on my own I might stop and stare into space or make (another) cup of tea, here I’ll carry on and before I know it I’ve racked up another 600 words. (AND I’VE WORD SPRINTED WITH HOLLY LISLE!!! That’s so cool 🙂 ).
I’m also doing a lot of pantsing. Or maybe that’s plantsing as I do have a vague outline, but this month is also an adventure to see where my characters and I end up. I mean, I know where I want us to end up – or thereabouts, but not how we’re gonna get there. Certainly there have been bees involved, which I didn’t expect and still don’t know what’s going to happen with them.
I cut my nails at the start of November, because I thought that pounding the keyboard with my normal talons might be a bit painful. So hopefully an added benefit will be that by Christmas they’ll have not only grown back but will be the same length!
One final reminder (as much to myself as anyone else): DON’T FORGET TO BACK-UP!!!