Saturday, November 24, 2012

NaNoWriMo Advice

Each #nanowrimo, I write like a maniac. And I'm always rushing to finish on 11/30. But not this year.

102% written, 7 days to go

The amazing thing is that it should read "102%, 10 days" because I finished my 50k on November 20th. 10 whole days early. SHUT. UP.

Here is what I learned this year that I didn't realize before:
  • The story REALLY MATTERS. When I wrote what I thought I should write, I struggled. But this year, I picked a story that I wanted to write, and it was so much easier. 
  • Outlines rock. I started with a shell, but I took time to revise the outline as I went so that each session had a goal. Maybe this doesn't match with the "literary abandon" theme from nanowrimo, but it worked for me.
  • Momentum can make a big difference. I had one day when I wrote over 7k. That felt amazing. But it also meant I sat in my chair typing for hours and hours. I wrote after the kids went to school, after they got home from school, while I worked on dinner, after dinner, and as the kids got ready for bed. It was a long day, and I only did that once, but it really got me through the heart of the story and into a new section.
  • Supporters make it work. I've done this for a few years now, so my husband knows not to expect a full house cleaning before Thanksgiving. The kids know that I'll be working on my next book for most of the month. Their support and encouragement help me to keep going. And I know not to schedule too many outside meetings, get-togethers or other distractions so that I can focus.
  • Ignore the 1,667 goal for each day. When I used that number as my daily goal, I inevitably fell behind, then forced myself to write gibberish the last few days to catch up. Ignore it. Double it. If you know you have a big conflict, vacation, or family visitors for Thanksgiving, then triple it. That way, on those days when you must have a zero, you won't feel defeated. You'll have the strength to keep going. It made a big difference for me this year.
Don't get me wrong - what I wrote still needs a lot of work. And I'm sure that grand total of words will go way down as I edit the crap and make it smooth and readable. But to have the book here, in my computer and ready to mold, feels wonderful.

So thank you, Office of Letters and Light, for making NaNoWriMo a tradition in my house. I plan to make my donation now to keep this worthwhile and inspirational group going next year. If you've participated this year, I know they'd appreciate it if you would do the same.

One last piece of advice - DON'T PANIC if you aren't finished. There are still seven days to go, and that is more time than you realize. Thanksgiving is over and there is a whole week of November remaining. Shopping and holiday prep can wait until December 1. Just keep typing...

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Day 6

I'm taking time out of #nanowrimo to vote today - you should, too. Go #vote. I have taken my kids with me every year so they can see the process, stand in line, look at the pamphlets that we get handed on our way in the door. I think it's important for them to feel like they are a part of the process, even if they can't cast their own votes for president until the 2020 election.
Now back to NaNoWriMo - I'm on a roll this year! I don't know why, but I'm over 15,000 already - my fastest start ever! That probably means I'll slow down this weekend and rush to catch up next week, but that's OK. I feel like I'm finally back, and it feels great. My fingers are a little sore after a long session, but I'm enjoying it.

The biggest challenge I have is to get the words out before the kids get home from school. I feel such relief when I do because then I can focus on them and dinner and homework for the rest of the day. Yesterday that was not the case, but I still managed to hit my personal goal before bed time.

And I have to say that the family is very supportive again this year. Maybe it's because I've been doing it for a few years, but everyone understands when I say I need to take some time to finish a section or hit a certain word count. A little support goes a long way...

That said, I hope you have a great writing day, whether you get that one perfect sentence down, or you crush it and hit 5,000+ for the day. (I haven't done that yet, by the way, but I hope to on a crazy-good day. Yesterday came close.)

Happy writing and voting!

Friday, November 2, 2012

#NaNoWriMo Day One

Congrats to everyone who started NaNoWriMo yesterday! It feels so good to be back.

My first day went well. I had a number of errands to run, so desk time was not as long as I had hoped. I still managed to squeeze 1,778 words out by midnight, so a decent start.

One thing I did before writing was organize my desk. It wasn't too cluttered, but I tend to pile things around myself until I am buried, so I wanted to start fresh for the new book. Here is what it looked like before:
Desk before

Not too bad. Post-its were a little out of control, as were the cords connected to my Kindle, so I had to tame those. I bought a nice candle, a container for my post-its, and rearranged a little. After about 5 minutes of clean up, here is what I had:

Desk after

Much better.

I need that space to the right of my laptop for note-taking and snacks - not going to pretend that I don't have a bowl of yummies next to me for those moments when the fingers don't know what to do next. I love that the candle has two wicks - they dance together as the wind blows outside and the draft comes through the windows.

Oh, and that red rectangle is my speaker - Jambox by Jawbone. It was a birthday present and I love it. It connects via Bluetooth to my phone and fills the office with the sounds of Pandora as I type.

So that's it. I am up to 1,299 words so far today, but I'd love to hit 3,000. I like having a buffer, knowing that there will be days when I can't sit at my desk for more than 10 words.

What other things make NaNoWriMo days fun and productive for you?