Gearing up for NaNo

I’ve heard about NaNo-WriMo (National Novel Writing Month) for a few years and have never officially participated for one reason or another. But this year, I’m all in. NaNo-WriMo is an organized national event where writers find support and camaraderie in their commitment to write 50,000 words during the month of November. Conceivably, this could mean someone would be able to complete a first draft of a full length novel in thirty days. Just ask our very own Casey Wyatt, who completed a manuscript last year which then became published!

 When broken down into a daily word-count, it means writing about 1660 words per day—a very doable task for determined and self-disciplined writers. For me, that’s about a chapter a day or five to six pages. But one of the reasons I haven’t participated in the past is that…and don’t tell anyone…I don’t write every day. That’s right; sometimes days go by and I haven’t written a word. Life, work, and family might require my undivided attention, or maybe I’m processing my plot, dialogue, or how my next scene will move the story forward. Other days, I may write for six or eight hours, producing as many as twenty pages or two or three chapters. Up until recently, I wasn’t even paying very close attention to my word count. I gave myself a certain number of months to write my first draft and figured out how many pages a week I needed to write, but never felt the need to focus on the actual word count. 

That is until Susannah Hardy challenged the CTRWA members to start doing “sprints” on FaceBook. A sprint is when a bunch of people agree to spend a few hours at night writing their little hearts out to make a predetermined word-count goal. Ironically, the average writer is able to put out a thousand or fifteen hundred words in that period of time. Some more and some less, but the actual goal isn’t important. The sprints (and NaNo-WriMo) are successful because it gets everyone working toward their individual goal and is a way for this isolated work to feel much less lonely. It also holds us accountable to a group of people (nothing like peer pressure or the threat of public humiliation to get the muse musing). A little competition and some recognition for a job well done can’t hurt. Not to mention that you may just write the novel of your heart in a mere month—something that takes some writers a lifetime to accomplish. I figure I have nothing to lose by trying. Even if I don’t finish, I’ll be a heck of a lot further along than if I hadn’t tried.

This is where I’ll be in November

Here’s my challenge to myself. (I’ll share it with all of you since I’m highly motivated by accountability and the threat of public humiliation.) I’ve recently started my new work in progress (WIP), Book Two in The Chronicles of Lily Carmichael trilogy. Since the book is set to finish at about 70,000 words, I figure I’ll get a jump on NaNo-WriMo and try to have 20,000 words written by November 1st so I can plan for the other 50k and finish my first draft in a month. I’ve only managed a sixty-thousand words in six weeks pace one other time and that was when I wrote Savage Cinderella back in 2009. I may still not be able to write every day during November, but I’ll set my weekly goal for 10-12,000 words which is about 30-40 pages a week. That’s a pretty aggressive pace, but with the help and support of my writing family, I’m going to give it my best shot.

How about you? Are you going to participate in NaNo? Do you have a daily word-count goal? Do you write daily or have a weekly page count? I’m curious.

21 thoughts on “Gearing up for NaNo”

  1. I’ll be working on my next cozy mystery right alongside you, PJ! Our word count goals are similar. I’ve done NaNo in the past, won once. Even when I didn’t win I managed to get words on the page, and to me anytime I’m writing, that’s a win. It is SO much more fun and productive to write with the energy of a group behind you, either in person or virtually. During NaNo I do try to write every day, but I’ve never quite succeeded. I usually find myself playing catch up and pulling doubles–a couple of times I’ve even managed 5,000 words in a day, and it wasn’t all poo-poo, either. Just wanted to let everyone know that you don’t have to be a CTRWA member to participate in our virtual sprints and challenges. Just Like us and feel free to join in! The more the merrier, truly. I think I’ll post them on the Scribes page too.!/secretsof7scribes

    1. Great idea, Suze. You have been such a great slave driver…um….motivator for these challenges. I’d bet several of our members have you to thank for finishing their WIPs. I look forward to kicking each other’s butts on those word count goals!

      1. HaHa! Slave driver, Whipmaster (though I think I prefer the term Whipmistress), I have many names! I know I can’t completely pants this mystery if I want to have it done in such a short time as well as have it fit the market, so I’ve done a chart of characters and some of the turning points — it’s actually pretty exciting. Who knew the little village of Catamount Notch VT had so many secrets?

  2. I’ll be doing NaNo. I haven’t in the past, but I have used Dr. Wicked to help me crank out thousands of words in a few days.
    It was tough, but so worth it. thanks for another way to get it done.

  3. I’m Nano-ing this year too – hard core! I’m putting the finishing touches on my character sketches for all my main characters in my WIP (Some Time) and polishing up my plot outline. I’m about 7500 words in now and I hope to get another 10,000 ish by Nov 1. Then I’m gonna try to blow past that 50k goal – well, at least try to get it done early and maybe squeak out another 10K. Some Time should end up around 100K in word count, so I’m looking for a finished first draft before Dec 31.

  4. I’m excited to find more WriMos here. This is my first time to try it. But you do know you that if you want to “win” you are supposed to start from scratch on Nov 1, right? Except for planning and plotting, that is. Here are the rules:
    The rules state that, to be an official NaNoWriMo winner, you must…
    Write a 50,000-word (or longer!) novel, between November 1 and November 30.
    Start from scratch. None of your own previously written prose can be included in your NaNoWriMo draft (though outlines, character sketches, and research are all fine, as are citations from other people’s works).
    Write a novel. We define a novel as a lengthy work of fiction. If you consider the book you’re writing a novel, we consider it a novel too!
    Be the sole author of your novel. Apart from those citations mentioned two bullet-points up.
    Write more than one word repeated 50,000 times.
    Upload your novel for word-count validation to our site between November 25 and November 30.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing the rules with us. I had no intention of competing to “win”. My only purpose for participating is to give me the kick in the pants to write. But for others who might want to take a shot at the win, we appreciate having the rules spelled out:-) Glad you chimed in!

  5. Nope, not ready yet. Thought about joining the NANO. After I picked my stomach off the floor and wiped the sweat from my brow, I decided better to wait. Maybe in another life would be even better. I am impressed with you all and congratulate you on your goals. Good luck.

    1. Thank you, Gail. It is definitely daunting to look at the big picture, but i figure if I take it like everything else–one day at a time–I’ll get where I’m going:-) Maybe you’ll be ready to join us next year.

  6. There are no actual prizes for winning (which is just a self-reported word count of 50,000 between Nov 1 and 30) so make sure you order your t-shirt with pride, early. They sold out of the good ones by Thanksgiving last year, and since you can consider this your “prize” and its cost your “entry fee” then it’s money well-spent, especially since it supports the website and organization.

    Luckily, my sister is more of a pre-planner and after watching me try to grind it out (I started NOVEMEBER 9th and still made it!) got me one which she gave me for Christmas. I kissed her over and over again. THAT’s how good it feels to meet this goal–Lisa

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.