Monday, November 12, 2012

Update on NaNoWriMo

I'm deep in the trenches of NaNoWriMo again. I did NaNo last year and wrote 60k words. This year I'll be ecstatic if I write under 50k. I'm trying to finish the novel I began at the beginning of summer. Yes, I'm cheating (as I did last year). I'm starting NaNo with words already written (45k, to be exact). I really don't want my book to be 95k, but, overdrafter that I am, it probably will be. That's okay, I tell myself. I sliced 43k off my first novel, and I can do it again if necessary. Maybe next month will be DecCutABunchMo. We'll see.

All in all, NaNo is going swimmingly! I actually outlined this book (I know!), which I didn't do last year. (That novel was semi-outlined in my head, but I was too superstitious to write anything down...long story). I have a handy rubber-banded stack of note cards with all my scenes and important beats. I have a self-drawn map of my heroine's kingdom, the names and telling characteristics for my "cast," a timeline of all the days in my story and what has to happen by each day (my plot revolves around important deadlines). I also wrote the mockup back cover copy for my novel after I'd written about 20k to help keep me on track with the most important aspects. Plus I spent most of my summer buried in research (this novel takes place in ancient Greece). I still hit "research bumps" 2-3 times a week, but that's to be expected with a story like this.

All of these things--the outline, the back cover copy, the research, and other preparations--are making NaNo SO MUCH EASIER this year. It's still difficult. I'm a slow writer, so I wake up two hours earlier than my kids each morning to get a head start. And I don't usually finish my word count (I shoot for 2k a day so I get a day off on Sunday) until 3:00 in the afternoon. But what I'm NOT doing is staring at a blank page wondering what comes next. I know what comes next. And surprisingly there's still lots of room for discovery, which I love and which motivates me to write more. My outline is not so detailed that I don't switch things around or add things. I've already shuffled a few note cards in my "outline stack."

I'm well aware that everyone writes differently. I have some amazing CPs that pants their way through NaNo with brilliant material. And they pretty much started their stories from the beginning. I admire that so much because I could never write a beginning so quickly! The first 45k of my novel took me four months to write. A lot of that involved me stopping, contemplating, rethinking, and double-checking my research. I needed to get to know my characters a little more, let my story simmer in my brain. I'm finding my own groove as I write more novels, and I'm trying not to compare myself with people who write very differently--though just as well or better than me.

What I love about NaNo is that it motivates me to kick my writer butt into high gear, stop poking around with all the details, and shut up my inner editor. That's all good and fine for awhile, but then I've had it! I need to birth my first draft baby already!!!

Have you ever attempted to win NaNoWriMo before? How did you do it? Would you ever do it again?


  1. You're doing great, Katie. The best part of NaNo is that it's a race against yourself. In that way, you're always a winner. Keep it up! I admire you for your efforts. I dunno if I could get up that early. :)

  2. 2nd year NaNo enthusiast here-You are doing awesome! I'm so glad you joined NaNo officially this year.

    I crave fast messy drafting, but I have to admit I've been having more blank page staring than I would like. Maybe one day I'll outline for real. Maybe. I really like my pants:)


  3. This was fun to read! I'm so excited you're going to finish this book by the end of the month! I really hope it happens. I love the way you describe how you write because it sounds similar to how I go about all of it too. Now that two of my huge projects are out of the way right now, it's time to start thinking about the next novel ... but I'm guessing it won't actually start until after Christmas. :)

  4. I've been so proud of you and how much you've gotten done this month. You rock my socks off!

  5. You are amazing!!! Go go go!!! Let me read it when you're done!!!

    I just adore you. That is all.