So this is my NaNoWriMo word count progress chart:
Or at least, that’s what it was on Saturday after I hit 50k.
So statistics! We like statistics. Here’s how my nine day breakdown went:
Day 1: 5,731 words written, 5,731 total.
Day 2: 7,724 words written, 13,455 total.
Day 3: 5,150 words written, 18,605 total.
Day 4: 5,145 words written, 23,620 total.
Day 5: 5,130 words written, 28,750 total.
Day 6: 5,056 words written, 33,806 total.
Day 7: 5,002 words written, 38,808 total.
Day 8: 6,251 words written, 45,059 total.
Day 9: 5,237 words written, 50,296 total.
Daily average: 5,588 words.
Now, I wasn’t originally planning on writing 5k a day. My goal on November first when I started NaNoing was 2k a day, which is my normal writing goal when I first draft in any other month. I know from experience that I can maintain 2k a day pretty consistently, and it would bring me to 60k at the end of the month, which was fine by me.
But on day one I blew way past 2k and hit 5k with relative ease. I was hyped on NaNo and excitement and everyone was sprinting and I thought, why the hell not? and I kept writing way past my goal.
Day two I still said my goal was 2k. Then I started writing and got really excited again and Emmy Neal challenged me to be ambitious after I was tired and I thought, fine fine I’ll do it and I wrote until my brain collapsed at close to 8k.
Day three I hit 5k again and it occurred to me that I could probably keep doing this 5k a day thing and finish even faster than I thought. And my NaNo graph was telling me that at this pace I’d finish on November 9th or 10th and the competitive part of me didn’t want to see my daily average output drop so…I didn’t let it drop.
By day five I was no longer in denial. I knew my new goal was 5k a day, and more than that, I wanted to finish the entire book before the end of the month—or even better, before Thanksgiving because Black Friday is Get Assassin’s Creed 4 day and all bets are off after that. So.
That’s my current goal, and with 50k in the pot, I’m more than halfway there.
Being that this is the fastest I’ve ever sped through 50,000 words, there are a couple things I did (and didn’t do) to move the process along:
- I turned my MS into mad libs. Well, not really—I just used a lot of placeholders. I’ve never used them before, but I’ve had some of you wonderful readers recommend them to me, and boy am I glad because they saved me a lot of getting stuck in mid-sentence upon realizing I don’t know a minor character’s name. Or the name of a town. Or an object. Or just about any world building or character-oriented detail that I’ve yet to work out. Instead of pausing to figure it out, I inserted a big fat (NAME) or (TOWN) or whatever other placeholder fit the particular situation. I have a lot of blanks. A lot. But it’s ok, because those are the sort of details I can work out in future drafts.
- I committed writing sins. I told instead of showed. And used filter phrases like nobody’s business. And summarized in places that would probably be better served without summary. And named emotions. And probably broke plenty of other writing rules I’m not thinking of at the moment. And as I continue writing the 30-some-odd-k left of this WIP, I’ll continue to do so.
Why? Because this is a first draft, and the point of the first draft isn’t to get it perfect, it’s to get it done.
- I deviated from my outline. I tend to look at my outline as more of a guide than a strict rulebook. So far at least, everything’s gone mostly as planned, but characters have thrown major curveballs my way and scenes have turned out entirely different than the way I imagined them, which is totally a-ok with me. They usually turn out better than I expected, anyway.
- I made notes as I went along. Lots of them. Mostly to correct things, sometimes to remind me to fix something while I revise in the future, sometimes to brainstorm future potential possibilities. Most of these notes won’t really be looked at until I start my second draft in the future, but they’ll serve as good reminders for elements that need adjusting or expanding later on.
- I wrote in spurts. This doesn’t work for everyone, of course, but I’ve found that I write best in thirty-minute spurts. With Write or Die, I can usually pound out 1,000 words in that timeframe (and oftentimes if I hit the end of the timer and haven’t reached 1k, I’ll keep going until I do). Then I’ll take a break and browse Twitter, or eat, or stretch, and come back for another round. Rinse and repeat.
- If I still had the energy, I wrote beyond my goal. It helps to be ahead for those days in the future when the writing isn’t being so nice. Or you’ve had a long day and you’re tired. Or you can’t find the time. Or you just really want a day off.
If you have the time and the energy to keep going beyond your goal, go for it. You’ll be glad you did later.
- I slacked off on my reading. At the end of the day, after writing 5,000 words and staring at the screen for hours, I didn’t often feel like looking at more words. I’ve already met my reading challenge of the year, and once I finish writing I’ll be right back to my normal pace, but my reading output definitely slowed down, because I often needed a break from letter combinations.
And that is, in a nutshell, how I managed it. Now to get back to writing.
Note: If you want to read a really impressive story, check out Taryn Albright who hit 50k in three days. Yeah. You read that correctly. I bow to her wordage mastery.
Are you doing NaNo? How are you progressing? And if not, are you writing/editing/otherwise?