It’s another November, which means another go at National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). In past years, I’ve always made my goal, but have also been chronically behind. The first year, I had a late start. The second year, it just came in bursts. And last year, I was kind of derailed by the whole election thing. Sometimes I even start strong, but falter by the first week. This year is a whole other story.
I didn’t actually write anything until day four. I was completely prepared this time around. I made outlines, I refamiliarized myself with excepts I had already written of said manuscripts and explored the material with a fresh perspective. I did all of this by the afternoon of October 31. But then, in the early evening on October 31, I had a grand mal seizure and that kind of sidelined me for a bit. The first day I felt really weird, much like I imagine a drunk person feels like. No filter, everything I felt, I felt with extremes; I was hot, dizzy, sick and achy. It was awful. Honestly, I’m still coming down from that a little. Less sick, still hot and achy, and I’ve gotten my filter back and my emotions aren’t yo-yoing so that’s progress.
I worried that this would be another year, I would be epically behind and trying to catch up all month long. I mean if there was a year when that would be understandable, it would certainly be this year, all things considered. But on that fourth day, I wrote over 4,000 words. And I’ve written every day since. In fact, my daily average if you start on day four is 2,970 words written each day. And I’ve written a total of 29,703 words towards the 50,000-word goal. To say that I’m psyched is an understatement. I’ve never been caught up before, and this time I’m not only caught up – I’m ahead! If I keep writing at this pace, I’ll finish by November 22nd. I’m already 5 days ahead of schedule if I want to finish by the end of the month.
But I did end up making a minor tweak to my original plan. I didn’t stick with just manuscripts. The days following my seizure, all of the days so far actually, I don’t feel “all there” so I have expanded the scope to be: all words written for short pieces up for publication and long-form manuscripts. So, if I journal or blog none of that counts. But if I write a personal essay about my seizure experience or anything that I plan to submit for real – that does. It’s not something I want to get in the habit of, but this year I feel I needed the bended rule.
Still, I’m doing just fine. Out of total word count, 21,223 words is long-form manuscripts (actually just split between two novels), and only 8,480 words are personal essays/editorials. So, the bulk of my words is still what NaNoWriMo is all about. My goal is to finish a week early, but keep writing. Ideally, I’ll hit the 50,000-word mark with just new words for my novels in progress. But if I finish early, everything else is gravy and it takes the pressure off.
I can’t believe I’m ahead this year! I’m so thrilled and just hope I can keep up the momentum. So far, I am. I’m actually writing every single day, which is kind of the point. This is the first year where I feel like NaNoWriMo isn’t just good in terms of motivating me, but it’s actually having me churn out quality material. And that’s something to celebrate!
If you’re also participating in NaNoWriMo, let me know how you’re doing. Remember, it doesn’t matter how behind you are – I have been ridiculously behind nearly every year so far and was still able to turn it out in the end. Just keep at it, and write on! 🙂