NaNoWriMo. The most brutal, demanding writing month of the year. In order to make it to 50,000 words by the end of the month, one has to average 1,667 words a day. Difficult, but not too bad. 1,500 is my normal daily average, but with work and daily chores, it's hard to keep it going for a whole month. Plus, I usually don't write on weekends, so in order for me to win at NaNoWriMo, my daily word count goal is 2,380. And that is difficult.
I've attempted NaNoWriMo quite a few times, but I didn't win until last year. I started the month with a goal to finish Pointe & Shoot*, but three or four days into November I had this random scene floating through my head that I couldn't get rid of. I decided to write it down one day and use it for my word count, so I could just get it out and move on. But that one scene turned into two, then three. My word count for that day was tremendous! So I sent the scenes to my younger sister, asking if the story was worth continuing. Her response: Yes! Keep going!
I spent the rest of the month pantsing a celebrity romance, and it was so fun. I sent all the new words each day to my sister, and about halfway through she said, "I'm dying to know what happens next!" and I was like, "Me too!"
You guys, I am not a pantser. I am the most plottiest plotter there ever was. I once took a plotting class from Brenden Reichs, and he put up a picture of this huge whiteboard, filled with magnets and post-its and color-coded plot-lines. Everyone gasped and talked about how overwhelming it was, and I just sat there thinking, "It's so beautiful!"
Anyway, I totally won last year. Not only did I write all 50,000 (actually 52,726) words, but I learned a lot about plotting on the fly and pushing through the hard spots to get that story down on paper. And I am so excited for this year's NaNoWriMo. I'm kinda cheating, because I'm not starting fresh on a new book; I'm finishing up my current work in progress. But I'm only counting new words written, and I'll start a new project once I finish this one.
One thing that really helped me last year was being buddies with some great writers. Seeing their word counts go up motivated me to push harder. If anyone else is writing this November and wants to buddy-up with me, my username is jacquelineclewis. Super easy!
Good luck to everyone writing!
*Still not finished!
Pretty much the last anyone heard from me, I had just published THE SUNSTONE SLIPPER and I was so excited to get to book two, THE GOBLIN WAR. I spent that summer drafting Goblin War, decided it wasn't going in the direction I wanted it to, then drafted it again. I still wasn't happy with the way it was going, so I decided to let it sit for a while and moved on to drafting another book.
Then my oldest son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, and my husband broke his leg and tore the ligaments in his ankle, and my writing life disappeared. I didn't have the mental or emotional energy to create worlds anymore. My brain was consumed with BG numbers, carbohydrate counts, and insulin calculations while my body was focused on helping my husband at work, keeping the house running, and making sure everyone in the family was taken care of.
It’s taken so long to get back into the habit of writing. I was lucky enough to have my sister cheer me on during NaNoWriMo last year, and I pantsed a horribly fun celebrity romance that has been shelved forever. But drafting that book brought me back into the writing world and allowed me to make writing a higher priority than it had been.
Fast forward to now: I’m writing every weekday, I’m redoing my website, and I’m preparing to publish, publish, publish. It’s time to make things happen.