November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo or NaNo). The idea is that crazy writers set aside the month of November in an attempt to draft 50,000 words of a novel. That’s approximately 1,667 words a day, including weekends and holidays.
Before I had kids I actually did NaNoWriMo one year, the whole 50,000 words. And it sucked. The process of writing that many words in one month sucked. The words themselves sucked. The story sucked. And it sucked the life out of me! It’s a manuscript where I really liked the initial idea, but when I revised it, nothing was working. I tried different point of views, shifting tenses, reworking the plot. Let’s just say I’ve moved on from this story and it kind of soured me on the whole NaNoWriMo thing.
But I’ve been in a bit of a writing funk the last few months, since summer really. I’ve done lots of “smaller” writing things (writing a new beginning for a finished manuscript, working on a picture book idea, and the usual parenting articles and such). I had a few spurts of productivity, but not a lot of new words flowing. And I really have been wanting to get a draft done of ELIXIR SAVED (a companion to ELIXIR BOUND). Like I’ve been working on a first draft of this manuscript for years and it’s really starting to weigh on me.
Now it’s a tough manuscript to write because one of the point-of-view characters is based on my sister Kylene (and even has her name) and can be emotionally draining. So I’ve been lenient on myself when I’ve had to take breaks, but it’s time to get this one done. I decided to come up with a plan to finish. Earlier this month I took a look at how much I’d actually written, and it was a lot more than I thought I had–over 50,000 words. To put that into perspective, the completed novel of ELIXIR BOUND is a little over 55,000 words.
Now I knew that SAVED, with its multiple points of views and more epic scale, was going to be quite a bit longer than BOUND, but it was a nice surprise to see that I had accumulated so many words. It was heartening, and it made me feel like I could actually finish this first draft…and soon. That’s was when I was like, “I could use NaNo to get this done.”
With so many words already, I don’t need to set the (unrealistic for me) goal of 50,000 words in a month. I’m going to halve it for a goal of 25,000 words, which would be about 834 words a day or 1,137 words a day if you only count weekdays. That seems doable to me, and it should be enough to finish off the draft. And you know what, even if I don’t meet my exact goal, it’s going to serve as a framework to get me to the finish.
I’ve spent the last few weeks outlining the plot I already have and listing out the scenes I still need to write. I’ve written, formatted, and scheduled all my November blog posts (with only a few updates needed when the dates get closer), so I don’t have to worry about those. I dusted off my old NaNo profile (for anyone else who is doing NaNo, my username is ktlc1113 if you want to look me up on their site) and got it all up to date. I’ve squared away all my other freelancing, etc… work. (The kiddos will still be around all month bugging me, but not much I can do about them!)
I’m ready to start…tomorrow. And hopefully by the end of the month, I’ll have a finished draft of ELIXIR SAVED. Wish me luck!