Thursday, November 10, 2011

NaNo: First Third

It’s time for a NaNoWriMo update post, because I forgot to do one after week one it’s DAY TEN, which means we are a third of the way through this crazy, keyboard-pounding adventure. Here’s how it’s been going so far for me:


Midnight: I decide to stay up and start writing at midnight, which ends up being a silly idea because I’m old now and I get tired at night. I only get 400 words down, and as I’m heading to bed, I realize those 400 words are in present tense, which was not the plan.

AM: I change everything to past tense and write a little more, but I still don’t like the voice of my protagonist. I wonder what I was thinking trying first person and consider changing it to third.  

PM: I decide decided decide to change everything back to present tense. (Which I have also done with this blog post twice. True story.) This makes me cry a little. Finally I get back to drafting without worrying about editing, which is what I’m supposed to be doing anyway.

(1730 today; 1730 total)


After a lot of soul searching (staring into space and reading blogs is the same as soul searching, right?) I come to terms with first person present tense and finally start moving along. I write in 20 minute periods with short breaks in between – they’re not sprints, exactly, because I’m not focused on writing quickly, just focused on focusing. It works surprisingly well. Thanks to Heather Hansen for sharing the basic idea from here

(2304; 4034)


I get to see David Sedaris live (!!!) which is even more entertaining and inspiring than I expected. I write afterwards and somehow manage to resist the strong urge to change my story to a hilarious memoir or a bawdy animal fable. Unfortunately I don’t update my word count until after midnight, so my NaNo chart and calendar are not as pretty and accurate as they should be. 

(1072; 5106)


I bike over the massive hill to the community college for my free Zumba class (yes, I am a Zumba addict despite avoiding pretty much all other dance and fitness classes). I bring my laptop and get in a few hundred words before it begins. Afterwards I’m slightly sweatyicky, but the place has comfortable chairs, a small coffee shop, and minimal distractions, and I did just lug my laptop over the hill… so I end up staying for almost three hours of solid writing time… which makes me feel like my numbers from today should be higher, but whatever. I'm at the point where my outline starts to have gaping holes (not plot holes, even - just a lack of any scene ideas between now and three scenes from the ending) so I have to spend some of the time brainstorming.

(2081; 7187)


We have friends over to watch their favorite football team and then I just kind of….keep watching TV. This is why I never wanted cable (we have a dozen or so channels of basic cable because it actually made our internet cheaper than going without, which is kind of depressing). Ugg. Eventually late in the evening I painfully churn out about thousand words. My story is starting to bore me a bit – bad sign!

(1151; 8338)


Before I start writing for the day, my computer starts making loud and angry noises and the screen goes black. I panic through the entire hard shutdown and reboot, but everything seems to be normal when it turns back on. I back up my novel on my new turtle flash drive (thanks, Madeline!) and instantly feel better. 

Turtle Save!
I write in half hour segments throughout the day, interspersed with reading and laundry and time with my husband. It’s absolutely lovely, and I end up writing over 4000 words.

(4130; 12468)


I go to my first official write-in meet-up thing EVER (because in my new region they’re all much closer to my home than they were in Maryland). It’s a very loud and crazy group, but we get some work done too. And it comes at the perfect time, because I tend to slow down my writing whenever I’m ahead of the NaNo graph. Thanks, word wars with new friends, for keeping me on track today. Also, tip for winning a word sprint: have your characters dream or hallucinate so you can essentially write about anything crazy that comes into your head. (What do you mean that's cheating? My characters were in a desert at the time, so psychedelic mirages are totally logical...)

 (1874; 14342)


I go to ANOTHER Write-In and feel like I’m on a social writer roll. The host and I find some crazy similarities: not only did we both just move from the east coast, but we went to the same grad school two years apart, she almost ended up teaching at the community college one county over from where I taught, and we're both desperate to have a Panera franchise open up here because we’re suffering from withdrawal. I manage to get some words down in between making business plans and reminiscing about asiago cheese bread and thick soups.  

(1280; 15,622)


I have a job interview (YaY!) in the late morning. I'm too nervous to write beforehand, but afterwords I stick around in a lounge to write. My word count looks like it’s in great shape, but I feel the desperate urge to GET WAY AHEAD because we have friends staying with us Thursday through Monday. I do okay, but when I conclude a scene and notice that my total word count is 17777, I decide it’s an omen and end for the day. 

(2155; 17777)


I wake up to find that the house elves have done NOTHING, sigh, so I have to spend most of the day readying the house for guests. We hang out all evening with them so I am only starting to write…now. I sense a red day on my graph...

How is NaNoWriMo (or your chosen alternative) going for YOU?


  1. Wait-Pandora? As in the charms? Or Panera, as in yummy?

    I am secretly hoping Pandora.

  2. Oh geez - that's what I get for posting late at night. I'll have to fix that. I was more likely thinking about the Pandora music station, but if Pandora jewelry wants to include a loaf of asiago cheese bread with each purchase, I'd be interested ;-P.

  3. Those turtles/tortoises can fix anything! Although I somehow doubt either of my torts would like to be plugged into my laptop. They'd much rather walk around on it...hey, that would be a good way to boost my work count... :)

  4. NaNo makes sane people crazy. Hang in there. Whatever you end up with is more than you started with, right? Winning. :)

  5. Definitely, Heather. Especially with friends in town now, I'm focusing on having a great November that includes the best I can do on Nanowrimo, rather than having a November dominated by Nanowrimo. Life and sanity first!

  6. I kept forgetting to post for the first couple of days, too! lol it's hard to remember to post every night...

    Anyways, I gave you an award! It's over at my blog. ^_^