NaNoWriMo Week Three Progress Report

Image from Pixabay

Truth is, I don’t feel like I really did make much progress over the last week, but I don’t want you to think I have given up like past years, so here I am, faithfully checking in.

I skipped four days because I was so exhausted. Haven’t been sleeping well and felt like I’d be forcing creativity if I made myself sit down and write. It’s always a balancing act between forcing yourself and making yourself do something instead of coming up with excuses, I think. But one day passed into the next until it was four days.

However, I have since caught up over the weekend, and now I’ve hit 20,387 words, so I’m happy with that. Slow progress is still progress, and there is hope even if you have not made huge gains like others. I usually give up after 20,000 words, thinking my first draft isn’t worth pursuing, I lose interest in my characters and I think I can’t possibly add enough conflict. 20,000 words is my usual wall. But this time I am determined to stick with this till the end.

That to me will be a win for me, because in past years, I’ve given up by now, seeing how far along everyone else got and how I’ll never catch up. I will be plugging away every day until November 30 and I’ll feel accomplished.

So my next goal is to make it past 25,000 words this week. I have a four-day weekend for the American Thanksgiving holiday coming up, and no big plans other than a small dinner with my partner, so I should have plenty of time to catch up, or keep going. All I care about right now is not quitting. I can do this! And you can do it, too, if you are sticking with it and also behind like me.

NaNoWriMo Week Two Progress Report

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Commencing Week Two of National Novel Writing Month. I am still feeling good about my project but this is usually the time I give up on my WIPs. I see how much further along everybody is in their manuscripts and I give into the pressure. I’ll never catch up so why bother? But since I started off slow with 500-1,000 a day word counts, and I didn’t anticipate I’d actually make the 50,000 words, I am giving myself grace and using those power word counts from the community as motivation instead. I need it to light a fire under my belly to keep going and push through.

I have failed in my goal to write every day, however, but that is okay. I skipped the 14th, when I was exhausted after going out of town to visit friends. I also skipped the 10th. But because I know I’m playing catch-up I am using that as fuel to stay consistent with my daily writing sessions since then. Sometimes you need to make yourself sit down and write even when you’re tired, like making yourself go to the gym when you really don’t feel like it; other times it is better to rest, instead of to force creativity.

However, right now it feels like I’m endlessly playing catch up. But I am really proud of my progress so far.

I am currently at 17,299 words in my psychological thriller, and I have ramped up my daily word count sessions from 500 words a day to 1k-2k words a day. My goal is to exceed 25,000 by the end of this week. I feel like the momentum is lagging in this part of the plot and I need to raise the stakes and increase the external conflict and action, so I am planning on taking some notes to inspire me to push through the rest of the next milestone. I usually don’t outline much, I just daydream my way through; but I don’t want to write a bunch of muddled, boring chapters just for the sake of a word count that I will have to cut later. The word count isn’t as important as whether the words are good, and if the words are good it will motivate me to keep going.

That said, I am not getting bogged down by editing as I go. For me, as I am a perfectionist, that is a sure way to get mired in an endless loop of perfectionism. For instance, I realized a different POV served my story better; I switched to writing it in first person present tense. The first 10,000 words are all in third person limited, but that is too much work to change that as I go. I will never get anywhere in the plot.

The challenge now is since it’s a psychological thriller, I feel it needs to take place in a confined area. In this instance, it’s a haunted ryokan. So I am taking notes and daydreaming, visualizing my story as a movie, to try to increase the conflict even in a tight physical space.

But overall I am feeling good about my project. I am not giving up. I just need to be consistent and write every day because it’s fun and I need to know what happens next. If I am in suspense, the reader will find it unpredictable, too. This is part of what I find joyful about discovery writing, without a detailed plan to guide you. It is a more visceral, nerve-wracking way to write, and it’s what I need to keep myself interested in the story. It doesn’t have to be perfect; the magic happens in the editing. I just need to get the bones down.

Hope your Nano projects are going well. If you’re flagging, maybe it is time to re-evaluate your goals or your plot. Hang in there writers!

NaNoWriMo Week One Progress Report

Image by 0fjd125gk87 from Pixabay 

I’ve decided to participate in National Novel Writing Month this November, despite my utterly failed previous attempts in other years. I always think this will be the year and cave under the pressure. I finished my werewolf book in a very Nano-like manner, though, writing in chunks nearly every day, so I know I have the capability of doing it.

I am working on a sapphic romantic psychological thriller set in Tokyo, Japan, among expats and the yakuza; writing women this time is an interesting departure, but the world needs more sapphic stories. I decided to do an alternative NaNoWriMo and not stress about word counts; only try to write every day. I am aiming for 40,000 words instead of 50,000.

Normally I end up posting to Twitter and that’s that, but with the implosion of that platform recently I’ve taken a break from tweeting, so I’m only updating Instagram and the NaNoWriMo website. I miss some of the community that way, but it’s also much less distracting.

The first week has been slow going. I thought I’d try something different and plot this one out, but every time I tried to prepare a plot in October I became frozen and couldn’t even jot down simple scene summaries in the various outlining methods I’ve experimented with. So I decided to return to my pantsing ways. Writing by the seat of my pants. I am not editing as I go this time though because I found I just cut a lot of that in revisions anyway, so hopefully I will save time by just pounding it all out in one big fever dream. My goal is continuously think of the action and increased conflict in the next few scenes. My weakness in pantsing has always been that I can write well, my prose and my characters are strong, but my storytelling isn’t as good.

So because I was taking a wild plunge into my story, starting out was like molasses. 500, 600 words here and there. I didn’t write yesterday at all because I couldn’t force myself to the keyboard and I don’t like to force writing sessions. And I had intended my weekend to be my big catch-up time.

Thus Sunday was the day I had left. Today I managed 3,662 words, bringing my total word count up to 6,679. I feel a renewed vigor and interest in my story. I feel like I finally hit upon the hook and why this story matters for me, and I find myself daydreaming the next scenes and sensing the same pull to the pages that enabled me to finish my other book in five months of drafting.

We’ll see what tomorrow brings, but I am fired up about this project now and anticipate pouring out more than 500 words with tomorrow’s session.