I started the final nine days of National Novel Writing Month needing only to write 10508 words to reach my 50,000 target. That should have been easy as I was averaging over 1800 words a day. Did I make it?
Day twenty-two: I had the house to myself for the next four days. You would think that would mean an ideal environment to write, but I like to take a break and slob around when alone. I was nearly four days ahead of schedule for NaNoWriMo, my brain was beginning to tire and I was developing a sore lower back from siting at my desk, so I decided to only write a bit on each of those four days. On day twenty-two I wrote only 464 words, for a total of 39956.
Day twenty-three: 287 words for a total of 40243.
Day twenty-four: 110 words for a total of 40353.
Day twenty-five: releasing I was leaving myself a lot of words to write in only five days I wrote 1006 words for a total of 41359.
Day twenty-six: I now needed to average close to the original daily total of 1667 to finish on time, so I upped the word count to 1965 for a total of 43324 words.
Day twenty-seven: 1685 words for a total of 45009. But then I accidentally deleted a chapter from my computer. I had given the chapter I spent the day writing the same file name as a previous chapter and then saved it. Ahhhh. Fortunately I had been backing up every night and was able to recover the deleted chapter from a memory stick.
I then spent a lot of time updating my plan for the next few chapters to ensure that indecision would not limit my word output on the final few days.
Day twenty-eight: 1731 words for a total of 46740 words.
Day twenty-nine: 1692 words for a total of 48422.
Day thirty: I only needed to write 1578 words. My back ached and sudden temperature changes had caused my asthma to suck my energy away. My sister visited. It was her birthday, so I had to at least say happy birthday. It was just as well I didn’t check my email early because the editor of Divine wanted me to write an article which needed to be submitted the next day.
I was checking my word count every 100 words or so and adding them to my excel spreadsheet so it would tell me exactly how many words I had to go. Finally the excel world count said 50014.
Yay me. I had done what I thought impossible. I had written more words in the past 30 days than I had written in the past six months.
What I learnt from NaNoWriMo
I can write 1500 – 2000 words a day. It takes about four hours of writing. Another ½ hour of planning, and many hours of thinking. Before I did NaNoWriMo, I would usually turn my computer on and have a look at what I had written the previous day and spend most of my time fixing it and not moving forward. With NaNoWriMo I mostly ignored what I had written previously.
I did go back and ensure that a character’s hair had not changed colour and I changed the dialogue of one character and made a few changes for the sake of consistency. I also scraped a couple of paragraph starts of a two chapters because I thought of a better way to start them.
But I did very little editing. Which left me with the thought, why bother editing at this stage? Especially as I tend to totally rewrite a story/novel on the second and third drafts. Why try to fix what will be rewritten? I think formerly my attitude was a bit like if I died, then someone might turn on my computer and read my stuff and think I can’t write.
So from now on, my first drafts of anything are going to be an unedited sprawl of missed commas and split infinitives.