My First NaNoWrimo

Well, last time I wrote that I’d roll out one of those unused covers, and as you can plainly see, there’s no cover posted. That’s because between now and the time of the last blog post something unexpected happened: NaNoWrimo!

I wrote a bit last time about delaying publication of the first Underwater Restorations novel, and while at first disappointing, opened up some interesting opportunities. One of those opportunities was a sudden gap in my writing schedule that I was trying to decide how to fill. I have since decided to write the second book in the Underwater Restorations series, and then noticed NaNoWrimo was coming up and decided to harness the collective writerly energy to try and get a jump on the novel.

I’ve been writing for about five years, but have never before participated in NaNoWrimo. It’s never appealed to me to try and force out 50k words in 30 days, not to mention November is a terrible month for it with Thanksgiving and family and what not. And technically, I’m not doing it this year since I’m not trying to get out 50k.

I had tweeted that my low, middle, and high bar targets were 10k, 15k, and 20k. And in the first six days I wrote ~12k. A new personal best ( non-workshop) week for me, and the week isn’t over. So it looks like middle bar target will fall soon and the high bar target looks achievable. When I pass the high bar target, I’ll reassess then on what the targets should be.

I’m not going to project forward at this point and say, oh look, 12k in one week that puts me on target for 50k. This isn’t my first novel. The openings and endings always write fast for me. The middles are always freaking slogs (and I just transitioned to the middle on this novel)—particularly when pantsing a novel, which all Underwater Restorations stories are. The only way to get through slogs is discipline in sitting down and working, which sounds a lot like NaNoWrimo, but it isn’t.

NaNoWrimo is about hitting 50k words, good words, bad words, doesn’t matter. It’s about quantity in the pursuit of crushing the critical voice and letting your subconscious freely write (something I’m fortunate enough not to usually suffer from). The discipline of slugging through the middle (at least for me) is dragging my butt to the keyboard and forcing myself to write prose, or edit previous chapters to better understand the story, or structuring what I’ve already written to gain insight. Some of those sessions in the middle may have negative word counts as I back up and prune things out! My personality is such that if I set a 50k word goal, I will stress out about staying on track—which kinda sucks the intended fun out of the thing.

But I can harness all the extra energy of other writers forcing themselves to the keyboards to get to 50k. So, I’m doing my first NaNoWrimo—kinda.

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