--W. Somerset Maugham
And so wraps up the first week of Nanowrimo! Over the next month, I’ll be giving weekly updates as to how the process has been going for me, for my own records as well as your reading pleasure. There are few things I love reading about more than other people’s journeys as they take part in Nanowrimo - they’re always full of insights and inspiration for me.
So, as of today, my nanowrimo stats are:
Characters introduced: 5
Settings explored: 3
Words total: 12 998
Chapters written: 4
Words in ‘scraps’: 7 061
Current feelings towards writing: A seasoned veteran grins as she looks over the battlefield before charging in to the fray again excitedly.
Tools that I’ve been using religiously: Habitica, Scrivener, 8tracks (I’m keeping track of all the music I’m listening to using this playlist)
This week has been a strange-but-great week for me. Here’s what I’ve learned so far:
You can have a job and write a novel at the same time. With ease. In fact, you might find great comfort after a long ass day full of whinging customers, to sit down and type away at the computer screen, watching the words fill page after page, spending time with ideas and creativity. I was really, really worried before I started Nanowrimo this year, because this is my first year attempting the challenge while being modestly employed. I was terrified that I would come home after bad days and be too exhausted to write. But things have worked out so far, and I’m really, really happy to learn that it is possible. Whew.
Treasure your good days. On the days where the words seem to simply flow out of you, take them, run with them, tie them up and squeeze every word you possibly can out of them before they escape and leave you desperate. So far the words have just been flowing out of me, and as much as I’d like to think that this will last for the whole of Nanowrimo, I want to be prepared for the days when they just won’t come (I’m looking at you, week three. I remember you, you bastard). So I’m writing. I’m writing as hard and as fast as I can - my word count is, as of today, at over 15 000 - that’s almost 5k more words than needed to ‘win’ on November 30th. It’s a cushion for me that I’m not resting back on until I absolutely NEED to. Until then, I’m beating my word goals as many days in a row as I can.
Changing your mind is a-ok. Even necessary. Just make the decision to change as early as you can - because changing your story 4 000 words in is a far-easier feat than changing it 30 000 words in. I decided to completely scrap my story idea for this year, and return to the world of my first nanowrimo draft, with some heavy alterations. It’s a setting I just keep coming back to - and with good reason. Apparently my brain want this world to be written about, so I’m going to indulge it. That being said, I’m holding on to a lot of themes from my original idea, so all that planning was not for nothing. Once I made that change, the words haven’t seemed to stop.
Go with what you know. If you’re an almost-pantser like me (someone who tries to plan, but never quite manage to plan anything and end up making it up as you go along anyway), trusting your gut is probably one of the best choices you can make. Where there isn’t a plan or an idea, real life can be a huge inspiration. Steal people from your life, your favourite books, steal plots from movies and TV shows, sweep up atmosphere and thoughts from work in to your story. Take whatever you can find and churn it out in to your words.
Writing feels so freakin’ good. There are few things that feel as good as updating my word count every day and seeing the number get bigger and bigger. The satisfaction and accomplishment, and the feeling of having actually done something creative is intoxicating. And addicting. I know life gets in the way, but truly the best thing for anyone stuck in their lives is to create, and writing is one of the easiest ways to create. We all know how to write, and we should all be writing in whatever ways we feel best - journalling, blogging, writing a novel - or all three, in my case.
Dedicating yourself to a challenge seems to make other things fit in to place. Every day I know the first thing on my to-do list, without fail, is going to be to meet my word count. But while I’m at it, I’m also trying to do a 15-second plank a few times every day. I’m trying to remember to brush my teeth more. I’m trying to eat a fruit, take a few minutes to just focus on breathing, keep my tattoo lotion’d and looked after. I’m using the fuel writing every day is giving me and using it to develop other habits that can continue after Nanowrimo is finished - and hopefully this year I can keep the momentum up and continue writing after November is up, too.
That’s all the sage advice I can give you folks from the first week, even though I could go on about how great I feel right now. Hopefully I’ll remember this if I get blocked. Tell me how your weeks have been going! Onwards we go in to week two