I am delighted and not just a little bit surprised to announce that it is day 13 of NaNoWriMo and I have just reached the halfway point: 25161 words written, 24839 left to write.
It turns out that all I need to make me write is a daily word target and a graph – if I’d known it was that simple, I would have done this years ago!!
As I pause now to bask in the glow of being halfway there (before gearing myself up to, y’know, write the remaining half), here is a rundown of what appears (so far) to be working for me:
- Slow and steady wins the race. Instead of thinking ‘Oh my God, I have 50K / 40K / 30K words left to write – argh!!’, I have been thinking ‘I’m going to aim to write about 2000 words today – anything from 1600 words will be fine’. Once I’ve reached my daily target, I save and close and my story doesn’t get looked at again until the next day.
- No internet until I’ve reached my daily target. This has been crucial. Procrastination via Facebook / Wikipedia / Amazon has always been my downfall when trying to write. If the internet’s open, I will keep clicking back and forth to it: it’s like some kind of compulsion, I can’t help myself. And so telling myself that I can go on the internet but only once I’ve written my 2000(ish) words has been a very handy motivational tool.
- Finish each day a few paragraphs in to a new chapter. I’ve seen this advice in countless books and articles and it really is a good piece of advice. Each day I return to my story with a new chapter all set up and ready to go which means that (so far at least) I haven’t even noticed the slightest whiff of writer’s block.
But the main thing I’ve learned is to appreciate the incredible sense of freedom that comes from just getting the words on the page and not allowing yourself to worry whether or not they’re ‘good enough’.
I have no doubt that there’s going to be some major editing needed on my story to make the plot properly coherent but what I’ve finally realised is that this is not the time to be worrying about that. Being able to put my whiny inner-editor back in her box for a while feels intensely liberating :-).
Good luck and best wishes to everyone out there taking part and here’s hoping my next blog says something along the lines of ‘woohoo – I’ve finished!’… 🙂