#Nanowrimo: Day 30 – My final word count and lessons learned

 

Yay, I did it!! Get out the confetti, balloons, and sounds of chilled champagne bottles popping everywhere! I made it to day 30 without losing my entire mind. It hasn’t been easy, and I had moments where I wondered what I was thinking getting myself into this the second time around. But I’m happy that I stuck it out.

Nanowrimo_Day30_SamanthaGWrites.ComLike I explained in day 24, I had to go above and beyond to get caught up with Nanowrimo. This included increasing my word count to make up for the days I didn’t write. And while I finished my novel last year with under 55K, this year I’ve gone past that amount and I’m still not done.

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#NaNoWriMo: Day 24 – Lazy writing cheats and passing 50K to complete my novel

 

So first, sorry I missed Day 20 as promised. But chile, I went on a writing binge for the past few days. Think Netflix and chill but write, more writing, no chill. I was disappointed about falling behind in Nanowrimo that I told myself that I would get to 50,000 words by any means necessary. There’s something about stating publicly that I will do something and then failing at it that rubs me the wrong way. So I stopped blogging, rearranged writing assignments, and increased my daily word count.

I reached almost 14,000 words when we last spoke and at the rate I was going; I wasn’t going to get to 50K until December so I did the math and determined that I would need to write at least 5,000 words a day to get to the end goal. And it wasn’t easy. I had to split my new word count goal in half and write 2,500 words in the morning and then another 2,500 in the middle of the night when I should have been sleeping. Some days I reached the 5K a day and others I settled for just 2,500. I Did this from November 17th. Today I’ve only logged in 2,000 words so far.

Nanowrimo_Day_24_SamanthaGWrites.ComHow I Discovered a Lazy Writing Cheat during Nanowrimo

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#NaNoWriMo: Day 16 – My word count, my setbacks, and my reality check

 

I know, I know. I said I’d be back for day 15 but life got in the way big time. Over the course of a few days, I’ve had a financial situation affect my writing schedule in a negative way. A part of me is so pissed that I let that keep me from reaching goals I’ve spent time working toward but I’m not one to quit no matter how far behind I might be.

Nanowrimo_Day_16_SamanthaGWrites.ComMy word count as of this writing is 13,741, I know, low right? We’re halfway there which means I should have at least 25,000 words written. But even though I’m behind on reaching my milestones, I’m still in it to win it.

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#Nanowrimo: Day 10 – Word count and dealing with burnout

 

 

It’s been a pleasant few days in the Nanowrimo challenge. Life has had its intrusive moments, and I’ve found myself staring at my computer when I was supposed to be working on my novel. I’ve been following the schedule I mentioned last week loosely as some mornings it’s been hard to get out of bed and turn on the computer but I’ve been managing.

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As I mentioned before, besides taking part in Nanowrimo, I’m also taking part in a blogging challenge and I also write for others. So with the amount of writing going on, I experienced a little burnout.

It wasn’t anything serious, but I needed to take a day or two off from writing Loyalty is Fiction.  Although my word count suffered, I was able to tweak my story so that it’s more exciting and there aren’t any moments when it’s dragging. I feel one of the things contributing to burnout is the path my story was heading in. I was feeling unenthusiastic with certain scenes and just trying to get through them to get to the scenes I really wanted to write.

You know how albums have filler tracks that are blah and we skip them to get to the songs we like? Well, I’m trying to avoid that with my book. I don’t want there to be any dull moments. I want the story’s progression to be done so well that I make it easy for readers to turn the page and keep reading. I feel more confident with the changes I’ve made.

As of this writing, I’ve logged 12,184 words. This is low to me and according to Nano’s stat counter, at this rate I’ll be done with my book in the middle of December and that’s not going to work. So at some point, I’m going to need to double up on my word count. I am happy with the way my novel is flowing. The dialogue, scenes, and pace make sense so as long as that keeps working I should be fine.

Hopefully your story is going well and if you’re experiencing burnout like me, take a small break but still actively write during your time off. For me it helps to keep writing in any capacity so it isn’t a shock once I pick right back up where I left off at with my novel.

See you on Day 15!

#NaNoWrimo: Day 6 – word count, new milestone, next week’s goals

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It’s Day 6 of Nanowrimo and I’m proud to say I’m still hanging in there. In addition to writing for Nanowrimo, I’m also taking part in a blogging challenge and I still have clients to work for so there is a lot of writing happening. Balancing everything has been a challenge all and of itself but I’m learning a lot about how far I can push myself to see results and I’m loving what I see.

Here’s a tip I’m sure you’ve heard before – Always begin goals with the end in mind. Click To Tweet

And that’s what I’ve been doing. As of this writing, the amount of words I’ve written is 8,739 which means I reached my first milestone of completing 5k words. Woot! The next milestone will be reaching 10K words, which I’m trying to do tonight, so wish me luck! My treat for 10K is getting one of those Lush bath bombs! It’s the little things.

The goal for next week is to keep writing, simple. My habit back in the day would be to start things and to rarely see them to the end. But with learned lessons and the idea to keep the end in mind, I will get to 50,000. Though word count is important, my focus is on making sure my story’s progression is on point.

I’ve had to stop and reread certain parts to confirm that the timelines make sense or if some of my character’s reactions are warranted. The last thing I want to do is to finish the novel and when editing get all confused by the events and moments then feel discouraged to continue editing. I feel that’s what happened with the first novel I completed last year. This is why it’s taking me so long to finish editing it.

My second goal is to double my word count three days out of the week. Tonight, I plan to double my word count to meet my next milestone. I feel this will keep my story fresh in my mind.

Anyway, I hope you fellow Nanowrimo participants are progressing well through this challenge. You learn a lot about yourself when you dedicate yourself to a challenge. Do you agree?

See you on Day 10!

#NaNoWriMo: Day 4 – word count, schedule change, and a mini ‘uh oh’ moment

 

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It’s Day 4 of NaNoWriMo and I’ve got a quick update about how my writing is going, my word count and some changes I’ve made. From Day 3 until today, I’ve been waking up at 5am to complete my word count which is 1668. On day 1, I wrote 2000 words and the only other time I wrote close to 2000 was yesterday and that’s because I wrote twice in one day.

My plan was to write at 5am and then go running around 6am. But because I write slow and require frequent reviews to make sure my characters dialogues makes sense, it’s taking more than an hour to reach my word count for the day. Pair that with editing as I write and there goes the hour.

So I’ve switched up the plan and have decided to write in the morning on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. Then on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, I write right before bed. I’m doing it like this because writing before running or vice versa isn’t working and I refuse to give up either one. Because my running schedule is Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays it makes better sense for me to write at night the days before my run. Im a true believer in tweaking a plan as many times as possible until it works. No use in giving up on something without really trying.

The amount of words I’ve written so far is 5,566, not including the words I will write tonight. I’m loving the way my story is progressing and I hope to continue to stay in love with it. I did make a mistake that I was able to correct. I wrote without reading the outline I created for one of the scenes and my imagination took the story in a different direction. While this works for pantsers, to make things up as they go, I need a throughly planned out storyline. My mistake gave me the idea to write at night on some days and early in the morning on others, so it worked out for the best.

For these next few days, I’m aiming to double my word count so I get more on the page. I also need to finish the outlines for the remaining scenes in the novel.

I hope you other wrimos are having a great time with your novels! One of the secrets in getting to the end is to fall and stay in love with your work so it feels less like an obligation and more like a treat every time you turn on your computer.

See you on Day 6!

#NaNoWriMo: Day 1 – Word count, challenges, and writing schedule

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Day 1 of Nanowrimo is complete! I was a bit anxious during the night and didn’t get much sleep so I was up and writing at 4am. I had an alarm set for 6am. The plan was for me to write a little, go for my run, then write again once I was back in. But I’m not complaining because I exceeded my word count!

Nanowrimo Day 1 word count

I wrote 2,000 words my first day of Nanowrimo. It started out a bit slow with me writing about 300 words and feeling stumped on which route I wanted to take the dialogue. As I explained in Day 0’s post, I’ve mapped out my scenes and how I want everything to go, but I don’t have written what I want my characters to say. I just know what I want them to achieve by the end of each chapter.

Anyway, my word count is set for 1668 but for Day 1 I exceeded it as I expected. Last year during Nanowrimo, a similar thing happened with me writing over the set word count. The reason for this is a mix of excitement and starting something new. I do this with everything new project, regardless of what it’s for lol. The real test will be around the 17th when I start to feel the burn. If I’m still writing 2,000 words then, I’ll celebrate.

My challenges

Editing as I write. This is the most annoying thing I do but I can’t help it. Every writing expert strongly recommends not editing as you write. It slows your pace and makes you take longer on your work than you should. But I’m a bit of perfectionist and can’t resist getting rid of a red squiggly line. My challenge for this year’s Nanowrimo will be to just write, make the mistakes, and fix it during editing.

Nanowrimo Writing Schedule

I’ve decided to start writing at 5am since this is an ideal time to get my writing out on the page and still have time to take care of other areas of my life. I’m my most creative in the morning. Night writing could only work if I got late starts to my day which I can’t do right now, so morning writing is the answer.

If you’re participating in Nanowrimo this year, please feel free to share what you learned on Day 1 and how much you logged for the first day!

#Nanowrimo: Day 0 – The title of my novel, what it’s about, and how I prepped

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Woot! Super excited to take part in this year’s NaNoWriMo. For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, NaNoWriMo is an annual writing event hosted in November that encourages aspiring novelists and writers to write a novel in 30 days. I first heard about NaNoWriMo in December 2013. I was a month too late, but I liked the idea of completing a book and found their challenge to be doable.

Fast-forward to last year when I completed an entire 50,000+ word novel. You can read all about that here.

Today on Day 0, while everyone is out trick-or-treating or getting wasted in their best scary or sexy getups, I’m hammering away on my laptop putting the finishing touches on my outline. What’s the novel called you ask? Loyalty is Fiction. I started writing this story years ago but never finished. The title back then was She Said. I wrote up to 70 pages on a laptop I no longer have and the disk I saved it too has gone missing like bobby pins I once owned. Crushing right? Not really. I never had an outline for the story and wrote it off the top of my head. I never finished because I got stuck trying to figure out what should happen next. While that process may work for others, this sister needs an outline.

What is Loyalty is Fiction?

Here is the synopsis of Loyalty is Fiction straight from my MissWriteItAll page on the NaNoWriMo website:

Loyalty is Fiction is a story of three women who learn that happiness and loyalty while in love is what you make it and not what’s owed.

Meet Madison – a “happily” married woman who is expecting her first child, Courtney – a virgin engaged to her first love, and Laila – the very single friend in love with a married man. Their lives are different but they all have one thing in common and that’s trying to find out who they are independent of the men in their lives.

Madison is living the picture perfect life that everyone dotes on but she’ll discover that there’s no such thing as perfect. Courtney will learn that the man she loves and is about to marry isn’t who she thought he was. And Laila will discover that her married boyfriend isn’t as loyal to her as she’d like to think he is. They’ve all got pressures coming from all angles of their lives, influencing their decisions that will ultimately make them happy or hate themselves. They’ll soon learn that loyalty, in love, can be fiction.

The synopsis is a work in progress but I believe it’s a good start.

Although my last novel was a romance meets spirituality story, I’m going women’s fiction with this one. I want my characters to connect more with women since their situations are crazy but definitely not unique to them. And the scenarios presented here are so not romantic. But I assure you, it will be a good read!

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What I’m doing to prepare

During last year’s NaNoWriMo, I used Scrivener and I’m using it again this year. It’s a writing software you download off their website and it’s AMAZING! I’m not affiliated with them but I just love how effective using it makes my writing and it helps to turn your dream of typing The End a reality. You can either choose to write under their blank project, or you can write under the novel project. I chose the latter since it gave me more options and it looks organized.

I started by creating character templates for my main characters and the characters they interact with the most. Their names, careers, personalities, what they look like, their internal and external conflicts, the works. I’ve also created setting templates to create a clearer picture of the locations they frequent throughout the story. This just helps prevent confusion and me writing “so and so” is arguing with her mother in chapter 15 but her mother died in chapter 3. This might work for a different type of novel though! I’ve also mapped out my scenes, what’s supposed to happen in each scene and in what chapters the scenes belong. I haven’t finished with this part yet but I’m hoping to complete it by tonight.

How I’m planning to get to 50,000 words

Consistency! With everything you want to achieve, consistency is key. I also plan to participate in their writer sprints that they have on Twitter and to use the Pomodoro method (writing for 25 minutes, taking 5 minute breaks, rinse and repeat until I get to my daily word count which is 1668 words), which is similar to their writer sprints. Eat right, dress warm, drink lots of water, and treat myself whenever I’ve written a certain amount. I will be popping champagne, god willing, and doing a Drake “Hotline Bling” dance when I get to the end.

My NaNoWriMo writing schedule

I’m a freelance writer in my “day job” and I’m a stay-at-home mother to a toddler who I’m also a teacher to, so as you can imagine time will be of the essence. I want, no I NEED, to write when I have little to no distractions so it must either be early in the morning before anyone wakes up or late at night when everyone is asleep. It might be in the morning, but I have to see how everything works with my workout schedule because this girl’s got to work on her fitness no matter what. You’ll be able to follow my journey to 50,000 words as I’ll be updating my blog 3 days a week (maybe even more than that) about my progress, woes, and possible emotional breakdowns during the challenge.

Oh! And if you want to download Scrivener and use it during NaNoWriMo, they are offering a special trial edition where you can download it for free and use it throughout the 30 days of the challenge *clapping emoji hands.* After the 30 days, you must buy it but if you win the challenge, they are one of the many sponsors. This means you’ll get the program at a 50% discount which amounts to about $20. And if you don’t win, you can still get a 20% discount. Aren’t you glad you read to the end? Lol. Here’s a link to download both the Mac or Windows versions.

#NaNoWriMo: How to write a book in one month and still have a life

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Writing a book in a month might sound like a dream or even a time consuming task but you’d be surprised. I’ve always wanted to write a book but could never finish. Either I’d start it, get to the middle and not know how to finish it or let life get in the way. That was until I discovered NaNoWriMo – an event that takes place in November (National Novel Writing Month) that helps you write a 50,000 word manuscript.

Before NaNoWriMo, the thought of writing a book in a month had me thinking that I’d have to be locked in a room all day and night just typing away on my computer. You can imagine how relieved I was when this wasn’t the case.

I tried NaNoWriMo for the first time last year and finally finished my romance novel! I haven’t buckled down to edit the damn thing, but that’s another story for another time. As to how to write a book in a month and still have a life, it’s very possible, and it all comes down to preparation.

So how did I do it? By planning out exactly how I wanted the book to begin and end, fleshing out my story so that I could see it clearly before writing. I began by writing what the purpose of the story was. Then I broke it down by scene, what events I wanted to happen in each scene and what conflict my main character would have to work resolve. Then I organized the scenes and settings into chapters.

It’s a good idea to start planning your book at least a month before you write it Click To Tweet. Give your characters personalities and your settings so much life that the characters seem like they could walk right off the page and your settings are described so perfectly that your readers see it when they close their eyes.

Next, decide on a daily word count (a certain amount of words to write per day) and never miss a day no matter what. CatchiFor me, this was difficult at times. I’m a mother and I am a freelancer with clients, so having to do client work and then commit to a word count every day was exhausting at first. But you get used to it. It becomes a habit, a healthy habit. And when you meet your daily word count you feel a sense of accomplishment.

So for me, I would commit to at least 1667 words a day. If sitting down and typing up 1667 words sounds like too much, split it up and do half in the morning before work and the other half at night right before bed. Make things easy for yourself so that you finish your novel. Click To Tweet I usually exceeded the word count because I’d get so deep in my story that I didn’t want to stop which was great. There were NaNoWriMo participants who wrote more than 50,000 words. I’m talking over 100,000 words – typical for fan fiction. If they can do it, so can you!

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For this year’s NaNoWriMo, I already have my story fleshed out. I’m just going to work a little more on my characters and their personalities. I’m also writing in another genre, I’ll talk more about that in another post.

If you’re planning on participating in this year’s NaNoWriiMo it’s best to find writing buddies from now. I had two writing buddies last year, and they were lifesavers. One suggested I read Stephen King’s On Writing, and that was the best advice I’d ever received. I didn’t get a chance to read his autobiography/writing how-to during the challenge, but I did after and it has changed the way I write fiction.

Writing a book in one month is very possible. Just plan out your story from beginning to end and commit to a word count every day. Tell everyone you talk to that you are writing a book in November so that you have people to hold you accountable. Get excited about your book and really fall in love with the plot and characters. And most importantly, make finishing your book a priority and you’ll get it done!

Btw, my name on NaNoWriMo’s website is Miss Write It All, let’s be buddies.