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Sunday, November 15, 2015

NaNoWriMo week 2 thoughts

So, it's Saturday November 14th. NaNoWriMo's "official" halfway point is tomorrow, and after two weeks of my first actual attempt to do this, here are my current thoughts.


To start, I am really happy with my decision to do this. I've connected with some very cool people, and I've gotten so much better about "being a writer."

What does that mean, even? Well ... here's how I see it. An "author" is a person who publishes a book of some kind. There are lots of people who are authors, but are not really "writers." To my way of thinking, a "writer" is someone who writes because they have things to say. I have stories I'd like to tell, but if they sit in my head I'm not a writer. In fact, all I really am, at that point, is a creative dreamer or thinker.

When I sit at the computer to type the stories I have in my head down into a document, that's when I'm a "writer." That's the transition, and is the part I hadn't really quite figured out how to make work, at least not consistently.

As it turns out, it's really—for me, at least—as simple as saying "sit down and write." Making the time, forcing myself to have a goal every single day, as I have for NaNoWriMo, has proven to me that the main factor in wanting to call myself a "writer" is to just write. Yes, I also need to read. Yes, I also need to research. Yes, I also need to edit and proofread (although, I am not doing those things to my NaNoWriMo project yet, that's what December & January are for, for me), and I need to market and network and give people a reason to want to try reading the stuff I have written. But most important of all these things, I have to write. Steven King is famous for saying (among other things) that the writer who doesn't read lacks the tools to write well, and yes I need to read to get better. But if all I do is read, I'm a reader, not a writer. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

So what I've learned in two weeks of NaNoWriMo is that I am absolutely capable of being a writer, if that's what I intend to do, and the first "trick" is to just plan time every day to sit down and write. Without the overriding "goal" of NaNoWriMo, though, what are some motivations I can use instead? What I plan to do is to continue to set weekly word goals, and focus on one or maybe two projects at a time. They probably won't be as ambitious as current goals—11,669 words/week for NaNoWriMo is fine—but a 5k/week goal seems reasonable for new writing projects (that works out to just less than 715 words/day). I will also need to set aside time to edit and polish this novel, as well as other works I will finish, so I also intend to set aside time each day for that process, as well. Maybe write new stuff in the morning, and edit or proofread or whatever in the evening.

But what I have learned the most is that I can do it. If I actually want it, it's there for me.

Alright onto the nitty-gritty.

Words for the week: 18,003
Average/day: 2,572
Total for month: 36,013

Goal updates

Main goal of course remains to get at least 50K with a "wouldn't it be great if" of 60K and even 75K by the 30th, both of which are certainly within reach.

First resolution: kill two more characters (I promise, it actually fits!)

Second: Every single day, write at least once, and preferably twice. I set my Scrivener session word count to reset every time I close/open the project, so the word count is by writing session. I have it set to the NaNoWriMo daily goal of 1,667, and although I haven't gotten each session that high every day twice a day, I have used it as a motivator to not give up yet on a session ("you can't get up, you're still in the red! Write at least until you get to the orange!").

So, that's week two for me, let me know how you're doing in the comments!

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