Tuesday, November 27, 2012

'WriMo Update: What's Working (but will it be enough?)

It seems a bit silly to be sharing "what's working" for me during NaNoWriMo when I am… 

*does the math*
*wakes up again and types the numbers with tremulous fingers*

… over 10,000 words behind where I should be.  I have almost 17,000 words left to write with 4 days left. Counting today. Which is more than half over.

I’ll be honest: if anything carries me through to victory this NaNoWriMo, it will be my natural competitive stubbornness and inability to give up on any challenge that I've publicly committed to ever ever ever ever. You might not be cursed blessed with this kind of bloodymindedness, but that’s okay. It's thanks to some additional factors that I’ve been much more productive in the second half of November than I was in the first:

~ The Rachel Aaron Triangle: I’d already read her “How I Went From Writing 2,000 Words a Day to 10,000 Words a Day” blog post (which you should definitely check out immediately, and it's now available in expanded e-book form, too!) a while ago and thought it sounded effective, but I never truly tried her method until I was floundering halfway through this NaNoWriMo. The data tracking part was right up my alley, but sketching out and visualizing the scenes in detail took a little getting used to… though now I love it! I haven’t hit anywhere near 10,000 words a day yet, but it helped me jump to 2000-3000 words on the days I really used it, when I usually average around 1000. Hopefully it can help me hit 4000-5000 word days too, because that’s what I need now!

~ Stealing Bits of Time: The only downside to Rachel Aaron's method was that, since I was tracking my productivity so exactly, I wanted to write in nice, solid blocks of time. After a few days, I realized that was NOT going to work for NaNoWriMo – I needed to steal time whenever I found it! If I had three minutes here or eight minutes there to add a few words, I did it, without feeling the need to track every second. Sometimes I need to be reminded that the writing is what matters most. #datanerd

~ Ignoring Chronology: This is very much a personal preference, since I know some writers have creative aneurysms if they try to write their story out of order, but I needed to give myself that freedom. If I had tried to write this book in order, I wouldn’t even have made it out of the starting gates. I needed to write the scenes I knew about, the scenes that excited me most. I did keep myself in the first half of the novel until recently, but I skipped around a lot within it, and I’m only now figuring out the links between many of those scenes. I’m sure some links will have to wait until December, and that’s okay, too. Related to this...

~ Knowing My Favorites: At one point I was really stuck and finally decided to switch to a scene from the villain's perspective and suddenly the words flowed. Let's not think too much about what that says about me... It's common sense though: when stuck, move to a scene you really want to write, and then make connections from there. A lot of people seem to like writing kissing scenes, for example. (I don't get it, but whatever works for you ;-P.) I've come to realize that in addition to liking dialogue, I'm a concept driven writer, so I started coming up with cool aspects of my world that I really wanted to describe and explore, and then I created a scene around them, preferably including an entertaining argument. Instant word count boost.

~ Motivation from Others, even outside of NaNo: In past years I’ve had friends doing NaNoWriMo at the same time, which is always motivating. (See my competitive drive, above.) But this year most weren’t able or willing to really participate, and for various reasons I haven’t gone to the local events like I did last year.  But I still have a good support system, people prodding and cheering me on, and that makes a huge difference. It's probably healthier than comparing myself to everyone else's progress bars, come to think of it...

~ Being stubborn and competitive is still pretty helpful right now though. Did I mention that I'm stubborn and competitive? Just checking. 

~ Not writing a super long blog post when I should be feverishly writing my story. Oh, crap. 

I'll leave you with two faces who have very much NOT been conducive to me getting any writing done, but they sure are adorable.

The one on the left is ours, the one on the right we took care of for five days while his owners traveled for Thanksgiving... because NaNoWriMo would be far too easy without such cute distractions :-D.


  1. Yeah, I try not to wonder too much what it means when my villain is far more interesting and fun to write than my protagonist. Sigh. :)

    Off to check out that blog post...

    Keep going - you're doing great! Really, you are! Even if you don't make the goal, you've learned so much about how the writing process works for you and that is huge. :)

  2. You can do it, Jillian! I'm a fan of writing out of order to, especially when I'm stuck on one particular scene. I'm rooting for you, and I can't wait to hear how you end the month!

  3. Thanks so much, everyone. I made it!