Accountability Post: NaNoWriMo 2020 Progress

You may have noticed that I haven’t been blogging regularly this month. And that’s because… Well, I’m doing it again. Not just taking part in National Novel Writing Month—a yearly challenge to write 50,000 words of a novel during the month of November. I’m also taking a second stab at a draft of the same novel I started work on last year during NaNoWriMo.

Why I’m Back Here

Because ya’ girl cannot commit to a serious writing schedule unless it’s part of a nationally recognized accountability process.

Between last November and this one, I didn’t add a single word to the approximately 40K I managed to put down last time around! Such, I suppose, are the dangers of working full-time as an editor and a publisher while pretending to have a home life and also needing to sleep.

Although I consider myself a writer first and foremost, and although I’ve wanted to write a novel for literally as long as I can remember…setting aside the time to do it is a challenge. I spend a lot more time editing other people’s novels!

And now, it’s NaNoWriMo once again! And I’m committed to finishing an actual draft of the same book I set out to write last year.

This, you may guess, is why my blogging consistency has faltered.

How I Got Here

About two-thirds of the way through last year’s NaNoWriMo challenge, I suddenly realized that my storytelling plans for the book I’m working on was simply not working. As opposed to one story told chronologically from beginning to end from one character’s perspective, the book needed to utilize flashbacks to two different story lines within the character’s life… In addition to the current, chronological story.

As far as novels go, it’s not too terribly complex. But it meant that at least half of the 40K words I’d written were either going to be demolished or heavily edited. I needed to do go back to the drawing board, restructure my outline, and figure out where to edit and where to cut. And… What was I supposed to do with that in the last week and a half of the writing challenge?

The point of NaNoWriMo is to write as many words as you can, as fast as you can, so that you’ll have the basics of a first draft finished by the end of the month. You can edit from there. But once I realized that I was doing all this writing on a completely incorrect outline, I stopped. I told myself I’d work on the outline in the coming months and start back up later.

Then life happened. And then Covid happened. And then my work schedule blew up. And…well. 2020.

But! Last month I did manage to return to the outline and work it out. I read through an old journal that I knew held lots of gems of personal experiences I could use as inspiration. Hell, I even made a targeted playlist! And now, here I am, midway through November a year later. My goal is to add 50K words to the 40K I had before, so that by the end of the month I’ll have an actual working first draft of the novel.

How It’s Going So Far

I tried to take a lot of my own advice from last year. (I wrote a series of three articles of advice for writers, including myself. You can read them here.)

So far it’s… Well, it’s going okay. I have a very robust editing calendar this month, with work for a lot of clients on my plate. I’m also in the fulfillment phase of the last Kickstarter I did with Oneshi Press, and just launched a new interactive storytelling project. So, let’s just say the 50K word goal is starting to look a tad ambitious.

But! I think the outline I’m working with is strong. And because I’ve managed to do most of the heavy lifting of planning ahead of time, the writing process itself is really enjoyable. I just let my imagination take over, and most of the time, it’s incredibly fulfilling. Last night I wrote 1,700 words in just 45 minutes! Dang!

I told myself at the beginning of the month that I’d write first thing in the morning, when I was freshest. But that has…not gone well. I’m more often writing between 10:00 and 11:00 pm, after the rest of my work is done for the day. I’m not sure if that is good or bad; on the one hand, my brain is not at its best at that time. But on the other hand, I’m usually energized after a writing session, which makes my evening relaxation routine way more relaxing. (Due in no small part to Star Trek and Schitt’s Creek, if I’m being honest. And whiskey.)

I am tracking my progress at the NaNoWriMo website, although I am likely doing it wrong. Meh. I’ve got way too much on my plate to spend precious moments of writing time figuring out the user interface! Anyway, you can follow along here if you want.

Here’s to Two More Weeks of NaNoWriMo

I lagged behind over the past week. Life and mental health and an over-filled work schedule just made the challenge too much to keep up with. But I hope I can power through these last two weeks of NaNoWriMo and get somewhere near my 50K goal. I would absolutely love to end 2020 with a first draft of this book!

(By the way, no, I won’t tell you what the book is. But I will drop a few hints: New York City. Horror. Musicals.)

I have a whole lot of black tea and snacks. I’ve been slowly adding to my playlist. And I’ve got about 30K words left to write.

I…may not keep up with blogging during this time.

Let’s do this!

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