So I am checking in for the last time this month regarding NaNoWriMo. For anyone who doesn’t know this is when a bunch of people register online with the same goal in mind: to write a 50,000 word novel in one month. That means you need to average about 1667 words every day without fail, on the same project. For me, a 1667 word count per day commitment is not a problem, the fact that is has to all go towards the same larger project is where I run into issues (I write about 1800 words a day on average, but that includes personal writing and blogs, etc.).
I am not going to reflect on this month of NaNoWriMo and my overall experience yet because that would be premature (oh you know it is coming next month) but twenty days in and I am still behind, and yet still determined to meet 50,000 words before the month is over.
When I first checked in, nine days into the month I admit I was kind of floundering. Everything felt forced and extra crappy and I only averaged 935 words per day. That means in the first nine days I was already 6588 words behind! The past 11 days I have worked my ass off trying to catch up, but in all honesty I am still falling behind the 1667 words per day minimum. The past eleven days my average has been 1635 words per day. So I’m right below where I need to be, if I wasn’t already 6588 words behind going in. Now when I look at the total words I need to write above and beyond my daily commitment I see a number that is incredibly doable and yet incredible scary because I don’t get another shot if I get off track again. And that number is 6940 words OR if I factor in what I need to write every day on average to take care of this, and combine it with my daily commitment, I need to write 2360 words every day, starting today until the end of the month in order to make it.
This is the first year I have ever participated and as much as I question myself and the writing I am doing, I want to finish because I am not a quitter. Unless it is seriously hazardous to my health I see something through, and this experience is not one of those toxic exceptions.
I have to admit, regardless of where I find myself with the novel I am working on, I am really happy I am doing this. I have worked on longer manuscripts, but never a longer fiction manuscript. All of my fiction has been in the form of short stories. The novel is a completely different animal. And I love what I am writing, the kind of book that I devour hungrily and can never get enough. It’s fun and a subject matter I find intriguing rather a story where I am slipping in some deeper meaning or social commentary or masking an autobiographical experience as fiction by changing a few things up. For me this is strictly entertainment value writing.
I think that so far, it is the “every day” aspect that is kicking my butt. I mean I seem to not write anything for my novel for three to five days and then have a magical writing sprint day. See I didn’t write a thing for the first three days, and then on Day 4 I cranked out 3557 words. I took another few days off and wrote a measly 1339 words on Day 7. But this time I didn’t take an off period, in fact that was a warm up for another sprint day, and on Day 8 I wrote 2182 words (all right it was really like the sprint day was broken up into two days). On Day 9 I didn’t do nothing, but it was still subpar at another 1339 words. And that brought me to my first check-in blog post. See: Nanowrimo Nine Days In… I Am So Behind!
My intention at this point was always to make the minimum of 1667 words and take care of what I was already lacking on sprint days. The problem was I didn’t do the first part, and just relied on those sprint days to pick up any other slack. The first day of my promise to myself was a sprint day and I was feeling pretty good after it – I wrote another 4133 words. This meant now I was only 4120 words under my goal, and that is easily divided between the twenty remaining days (it would have only been an additional 206 words every day). But the very next day was the first day of the horrible plumber incident (Awesome Neighbors To The Rescue!) and so I wrote, but I was just under my daily commitment at 1508 words. No problem, if I stayed on track, but with no water in the house and the plumber starting to show his flaky and at times belligerent nature, I only wrote 510 words the next day. And dealing with the plumber (by the way that still isn’t over – it’s so fun… not) I didn’t write anything for four days. FOUR DAYS!
That meant I now added another 6700 words to my word count debt that had slowly been increasing anyway. So now I was 12104 words behind with only fourteen days remaining. At this point I was worried about if I would be able to recover. But Day 17 was another sprint day, and I wrote the most I had written at one time all month: 5015 words. I could once again see the light at the end of this NaNo tunnel. I was so excited. If I wrote 4586 words for the next three days I would be caught up by, well yesterday. But of course that didn’t happen. For no other reason than I just didn’t do it, I didn’t write anything for two days.
And that brings me to the day before this check-in, the last day this check-in is counting: Day 20. Day 20 I knew I needed to get it together. At this point I needed to write 2766 words every day to make it. And I wanted to get that number down, so I went for my longest and most productive sprint day and it was well worth it. The final word count for the day before I called it: 6817 words. I feel like a rock star, but I also see my patterns and know that I can’t take three off days and make it up in a sprint. I mean there are only ten days left. Even if I did the 6817 word sprint day another three times, I would fall short.
So now I have to write 2360 words for the next ten days (I have a total of 26400 right now) in order to make it. And I am going to do it. No more off days. No more excuses. If the sky rains down fire, I will still write what I need to write. Quite honestly I am hoping to be caught up by the Day 26 so I can finish off the month on track for a change (it would be the first time for this entire experience). But if I don’t, I don’t. As long as I do the minimum I need to do every day to make it. As long as I make it. The month is almost over – NaNoWriMo is almost over. And soon I am going to be able to say that I actually participated in it. I experienced it. And me being me, I need to be able to say, “I did it.” I reached 50000 words. Write on my fellow NaNoWriMos… just ten more days to go!