NaNo Advice, Part 4

Apologies!  I thought that I published this on Friday, but it turns out it got saved as a draft…

We are nearing the end of the line, folks, and once again I have some advice for myself that others might appreciate as well!

Don’t stop when you hit par.

For those who aren’t writing like crazy people (also known as participating in NaNo), the NaNoWriMo website has a stat tracker that tells you if you are on pace to finish on time.  It has a daily “par” or word count that you should be at to hit 50,000 by November 30th.

I have a tendency to breathe a sigh of relief when I hit par, close my document, and do something else.  This is not a good idea!  Inspiration hits at random times, and just because I’ve hit par doesn’t mean I’m done writing for the day.  Not to mention that it’s always a good plan to get ahead if you can.  It’s impossible to know when the lazy bug will bite or life will prevent writing for a day.  Especially as we near the finish line, don’t just stop because you have enough words.

Keep writing as long as the ideas hold out and your fingers still work!


NaNo Update, Day 22 (Happy Thanksgiving!)

No work today, but lots of writing!  Here’s where I stand with Unexpected.

Current total word count is 37,309, putting me about 650 words ahead of par.

I wrote a whopping 4,000 words today, making it my highest single-day word count.  If I feel so inclined I might write a few more later.

The twist is proving to be a very useful tool, and should get me quite a bit closer to the end goal  At one point today I got so into the action in the story that I think my words per minute count went up.  Hopefully it reads as exciting as it was to write!

I did interrupt my writing to cook my favorite Thanksgiving foods and then eat them.  Now I get to clean up the mess that is my kitchen, and maybe go back to writing.

Saturday is my last day off of work until the end of the month.  I hope to write like a fiend and get ahead.  I’ll let you know how that ends up in next week’s update!

Happy writing!

NaNo 2012, Day 8

Ok, it’s Thursday, which means time for an update!

Word Count currently stands at 14,207.  That puts me just under 900 words ahead of par for today.  I might write a bit more later tonight, but that’s going to be my official count for this post and for today on the NaNo homepage. I’ve been running just shy of a day ahead since Sunday, which is good.  Tomorrow might not see any writing, since I have plans with a friend from work, but then it is the weekend which is mad writing time for me!

The writing itself is also going well.  I thought I had hit a snag yesterday, because I had gotten to the end of what I knew on Tuesday.  I flipped that into a scene with my characters discussing what information they were lacking before they could make a plan (helpful to make them work for me, no?) and then I ended up coming up with not only the next piece in Kiwi’s subplot courtesy of some crowdsourced advice but also with a major piece of information crucial to the ending of the novel.  Those two chunks gave me today’s 1200 or so words.

I have to say that, as obnoxious as she is, I adore Kiwi.  She is one of the most fun characters that I’ve written, probably because she is so very different from me.  It’s entertaining to find ways for her to be as obnoxious, blunt, sarcastic, and rude as possible.  I’ve even been posting a “Crazy Kiwi Quote of the Day” on my Facebook page for the enjoyment of others!  She’s changing (as characters do in novels) into less of a ‘character’ and more of a person, so I haven’t been making myself laugh with her dialog as much lately, but that’s probably a good thing as well.  She’s not there for comedic effect, after all.

So that’s my NaNo update for you.  You’ve probably noticed that I’ve had a bit more fodder for blog posts, as well, which always happens when I’m writing a lot.  Tomorrow I have some more “advice” for you, and another word count update next week.

Happy writing!

NaNo Advice, part 1

As a previous winner of NaNo and a competitor this year, I’d like to share a little writing advice with you.

Oh, who am I kidding?  I’m in the same boat as you!  There’s nothing about me that makes me any more or less of an expert on this thing.  To be honest, this is really advice for me.  (As in, let me tell you the things I’m doing that aren’t helping…)  I’m thinking we could do this weekly, but we’ll see how it holds up.  So, with no further ado, here is today’s “advice”…

Stop looking at your word count and just write.

Checking your word count when you finish a section or stop for the day is fantastic.  That’s how you update your word count on the NaNoWriMo page, after all, and how you track your progress.  Looking at the end is helpful.

Glancing down at the end of each paragraph is less so.

I don’t know why I’m doing it, and I’m trying to stop.  Really, I am trying to stop!  Somehow I am more obsessive about the word count this year, or perhaps I am just noticing the checking more, but either way it’s getting a bit in the way of the creative process.  The true goal here is to write a novel, right?  So the running total shouldn’t be the focus, the actual words should be.

Instead of my original idea of putting a sticky note over the screen where Word shows the current word count, I changed the size of the window and shifted it down so the word count is off-screen.  We’ll see how long that lasts, but it should help for the moment.

And now, back into the fray!  Once more into the breach!

Happy writing!


A Few Hundred Words Behind: A NaNo Update

I have spent the entire week behind on my word count.  The irritating thing is that every day I’m only a little bit behind.  Two hundred words one day.  Eighty words another.  I recover, I get past those words and onto the next day’s word count, only to end up still a little bit behind.

Thank goodness it hasn’t been cumulative.

To be fair, I was really sick this week.  I was absolutely miserable last Wednesday and I was lucky to get the 400 words that I did that day.  After going to the doctor, it turned out that I have (had, hopefully!) ‘walking’ or atypical pneumonia.  A round of antibioticslater and my cough is much reduced and my appetite is back.  And I’m still a little behind on my word count.

There’s something every week, right?  Second week I had a conference, but I recovered with a 4000-word day.  Third week, pneumonia, but I scraped through.  This coming week is Thanksgiving and my dad is visiting.  I know he understands and appreciates the writing; here’s hoping that he’s willing to let me vanish for a bit every day so I can keep up the word count!

Asterisks Aren’t Words

I discovered the other day that Microsoft Word is padding my word count.  I know, it sounds silly, right?  It turns out that the little set of asterisks that I use to separate Erin’s sections from Aurana’s in the story are being counted as words!  *** is not a word, but the program seems to think that it is.

Now I have to decide if I need to go back through and remove them.   I tried replacing them with something else, like a dash or a period, but apparently any symbol with a space on either side counts as a word.  I don’t want to take them out all together; the story would get confusing if there’s nothing to separate Erin and Aurana.  I guess I can just count them and then subtract them from my total.  It’s kind of a letdown.

If they were chapter breaks (as in “Chapter 3”) maybe I’d be okay with them being counted as words.  But they’re just little symbols, so it feels a little like cheating.  Thoughts?

NaNo Adventure, Day 1

While NaNoWriMo may eat my brain for the month, I realize that most of you probably don’t want my blog posts to descend into the realm of daily word counts.  I figure a weekly update on the adventure is more than enough to give you the opportunity to encourage me and follow along!  Plus, with the writing craze, I should have more material for blog posts anyway, right?

The goal for participating in my first NaNo is simply to get writing again.  As I mentioned before, I am driven by a challenge and the inspiration had already started flowing once more.  Today I had a day off from work (which I took for potential Halloween recovery, before I knew I was going to participate in NaNo) and so I started the story.  Some quick math gave me a goal of about 1700 words a day, although I’d rather just write as much as I have if there are more words in my head.  I’ve never been quite so obsessed with the “word count” total at the bottom of Microsoft Word!

I know, I know, at this point you’re getting curious: how did Day 1 go?  What is my current word count?  While I plan to (maybe) write some more this evening, I’m happy to tell you that my current word count is 3376!  I’ve written almost two days’ worth already, although the further ahead I can get, the happier I’ll be.  Honestly, if I can finish before November 30, I will be a very happy girl.

If you’re starting your NaNoWriMo adventure for this year, I hope your words are flowing and your novel is growing!  For the rest of you, I promise to keep my NaNo obsession limited to Tuesdays, at least on the blog!