Shelley Widhalm

Chugging along with NaNoWriMo (and finding inspiration!)

In Shelley Widhalm, Writing Discipline, Writing Motivation on November 14, 2015 at 9:00 pm

During the second full week of NaNoWriMo, I had taken a week of vacation, meaning I could dedicate at least two hours a day to writing (or that was the idea). I planned one of my weeks of vacation to align with the month, just so I could have a week of living the writer’s life without having to go to a day job.

Though I wasn’t sure if I was going to take part in National Novel Writing Month, I knew I wanted to do some work on my literary novel, “The Heat of Trouble.” I decided to go for it and do NaNoWriMo after getting encouragement from some of my writer friends.

I found during the first week of NaNoWriMo I liked how it gave me a goal to keep me on track, even if I fell behind in word count toward the goal to write 50,000 words in 30 days, or 1,667 words a day. I wrote 8,240 words up to that point, but to be on track, I needed to have written 11,669 words, so I was short 3,429 words as of Sunday.

Here’s what I wrote during week two to try to catch up (and maybe even get ahead):

Day 8 (Sunday): I wrote 2,608 words, bringing the total to 10,848 words. (To be on track, I needed to be at 13,336 words). My word count was a personal record, besting out the top of 2,182 words from last week.

Day 9 (Monday): I wrote nothing, like 0 or zilch. I had plans all day and not a moment for writing.

Day 10 (Tuesday): I wrote 2,245 words in one-and-a-half hours, bringing my total to 13,093 words.

Day 11 (Wednesday): I wrote 631 words in an hour in the early afternoon and another 2,114 words in one-and-a-half hours in the evening. My total reached 15,838 words, still short of the on-track word count of 18,337 words.

Day 12 (Thursday): I wrote 3,352 words in two-and-a-half hours. My total reached 19,190 words, short 814 words for the goal of 20,004 words. I threw my arms in the air, at least mentally, exclaiming, “I’m almost there!” and “I beat my best!”

Day 13 (Friday): I didn’t write a thing, instead spending the entire day with my mother, which was totally fun. When I got home, late, I felt like I should write something, so I wrote my Christmas letter.

Day 14 (Saturday): I wrote 1,759 words in one-and-half hours in the morning and another 1,022 words in the afternoon.

By the end of the day Saturday, I needed to be at 23,338 words to be on track. I was at 21,971 words, short 1,367 words, so not too bad, though I would have actually liked to have pulled ahead.

As I worked all week, I found NaNoWriMo gave me something to work toward, and a community as a source of motivation to put in the daily hours toward the same goal. I thought about the writing as work, or fun-work, because in my day job, I write daily, so I figured I could write almost every day for NaNoWriMo and set aside the project for a couple of weeks, as recommended, edit it and start the sequel to my young adult novel about a 16-year-old girl who works in a coffee shop to save her and her sister.

In other words, I found the inspiration and motivation to continue with a project I’d set aside to work on something else. With that extra push, I expect by the end of NaNoWriMo, I’ll be done with my first draft or close to it.

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  1. Last year I started a novel and needed a push to finish it. I used NaNo to accomplish this and it worked! This year I am setting aside a project to write something totally different from my usual fiction. It was a hard decision because I’ve really wanted to get my latest novel done but I think the break will be good for me. I have been trying to catch up today and did over 3000 words while babysitting my 3 year old granddaughter and other distractions! Thanks to NaNo I have 5 manuscripts in the cupboard.

    • Thank you for your comment. I forgot to approve this, so oops! I, too, found, NaNo very helpful, and it does work! It gives me a goal to work toward and then the extra push to keep going after Nov. 30. I hope to finish my novel this month–in December How did you project go?

      • I took a break from my current manuscript to do nano. I finished with 50,028 words! After recovering a few days, I got right back to editing my book which I hope to have done in a few weeks…

  2. I am nearly done with my NaNo book. How long do you wait before editing? For me, I’ll try to wait a month.

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