NaNo Week 1 Wrap-Up

At the end of today, week one of NaNoWriMo will be officially over! Crazy! Only three more weeks of this to go (plus two days)… So I thought I’d do a little week one wrap-up, and talk about the things that surprised me the most, and why I think those things are (or are not) working. This week there were two big things that took me by surprise:

1. My Character’s Voice- I just came off of writing/revising a different fantasy novel, and it had a very choppy, dark voice. Maybe because of this, I expected Devya’s voice to also be very edgy and dark (think We Were Liars by E. Lockhart). But I tried so hard to make it work, and it just didn’t feel right. In then end, Devya’s voice came to me as something much lighter, and a little funny, to be honest. I’m not sure if I like it yet, but I’m going with it, and it’s coming shockingly easily. Hopefully whenever I read through it for revisions it will feel like a good decision and not something that I have to completely rewrite.
2. My Word Count Success- This year I’ve been much more consistent with my word count than I was during my first two NaNos. Please see this visual aid… (You should be able to zoom in even more if you click on it, too!)
Both years before this one, I’ve missed a day or two in just the first week, and I’ve had to have pretty big jumps later to make up for lost time. This week so far, there’s only been one day that I didn’t meet the goal, and I still wrote a decent amount on that day. Here’s a few things I’ve done differently this year (and maybe these simple changes could work for you, too?).

  • Not writing is not an option. Self control is so so important when it comes to writing a lot very quickly, and it sucks because self control isn’t something you can just research and suddenly be good at. There will be times when you have to say, No, I will not watch a fourth episode of Gilmore Girls. I will get my butt out of bed, put on my professional pants, and write. But I’ve been trying harder than ever to make this a thing, because I want to treat writing like a job and not a hobby. And so far it’s been working! Even on the one day that I didn’t meet the goal, I wrote something, so the next day it was easy to get back into the world and make up for lost time.
  • I don’t look at my word count while writing. Normally I pull up my little word counter in Scrivener (pictured above) so that I can watch as the number goes up, and feel a surge of pride at my productivity. This time around, I’ve taken to completely blacking out everything that isn’t my writing (in Scrivener, when you go into full screen mode, you have the option to make your background more or less translucent, as pictured below). So far, it has made it easier to keep my focus on the world that my words are creating, rather than the awesome little chart my high word count will create.
  • I don’t do more than my brain can handle. There are many people out there who can hard core sprint, regardless of how motivated they are feeling (ex: Booktuber Kat O’Keefe does a 10k Tuesday the last Tuesday of November). Under normal circumstances I am not one of those people. If I’m close to something I’m SUPER excited for, I can have around a 6k day. Maybe. During my first two years of NaNo, I tried to push myself to have huge word count days (like my awesome NaNo buddies) right off the bat, and it just left me feeling discouraged when I didn’t hit it, and so frustrated with the book that I didn’t want to look at it for a couple of days at least. This year, I’m cool to just hit the goal. And if I feel like going beyond the requirement, I do, but I don’t feel obligated to. And it is AWESOME. I am cruising through, and this has made getting through the less-exciting scenes so much easier.
I’m interested to see if I keep these things up, or if I have to adjust as the month goes on. But so far I’m feeling good! How has your first week of NaNoWriMo gone?
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