w00t! I am dancing up a storm on this cloudy Sunday afternoon because
I won NaNoWriMo!
That’s right. I wrote 50,000 words in 22 days.
FIFTY THOUSAND words in TWENTY-TWO days.
I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo every year for the last 12 years. And this is only my 3rd win.
So I’m celebrating!
I swear it was just November 1 and I was just starting my NaNoWriMo 2020 writing journey. And now here it is November 22 and my word count total stands at 50,536.
How frickin’ awesome is that?
I will admit this has been a rather strange writing journey. As I previously wrote, I only had a vague idea of what I would start writing on November 1. As the first days passed, I found the story pouring out of me. I was hitting over 2,000 words each writing session and I was on target to hit 50,000 words on November 19.
But then this past week got a bit tough. Not only did I travel for work, which got me out of my writing routine, I also hit a wall writing-wise.
I hit the creative wall because the story didn’t go where I thought it would. But I was so close to the goal. So I plugged away and kept writing. I do feel the story has gotten a bit off track.
But that’s not important at this moment because
Well, the story doesn’t have an ending yet. So I will keep writing and I’ll keep updating my word count.
At this stage, this is raw writing. Just getting the words on the page. After I get to the ending, then I will spend some time outlining. Yes, I know that’s funny since I’m a pantser (writes by the seat of my pants with no plan at all), but I find it easier to outline once I know where the story is going.
Once I finish the outline, then I will go back and begin the basic editing process. I will start with rewriting those parts that don’t quite fit or I don’t quite like. Then at some point I have to put the story together in a sequence that fits.
When I write, I write whatever comes to me. Right now, I have about 28 sections or chapters. But these are not really in any kind of order. That will be part of my outlining process—to figure out a sequence.
And then if I decide I still like the story, I may even do a second round of editing. Maybe I even ask some people to be beta readers. Who knows?
At this point, I’m just happy to be a NaNoWriMo 2020 Winner!
October whizzed by and now it’s nearly mid-November. And I haven’t written a blog post in nearly a month.
Where has the fall gone?
I spent October tied up in reading challenges. I participated in a record number of reading challenges and readathons across three platforms—Litsy, Instagram, and Facebook (although I post the majority of my bookish stuff on Litsy).
In October, I finished 45 books! And I blew past my Goodreads annual goal of 182 books. Here’s the breakdown of the 45:
1 one-star that was also a DNF
Yes, 80% of the 45 were audiobooks. Basically, I listened to audiobooks at all times except for when I was at work. I’ve found audiobooks are great because I can do other things, like crafts or puzzles while listening to an audiobook.
The two 5-star reads were The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury, a fun romp through time and space to discover the origins of Halloween, and The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, a middle grade novel about a boy raised in a graveyard. And my favorite thing about Neil Gaiman audiobooks is that Neil himself narrates them. So even though I have physical copies of most of his books, I still love the audiobooks.
In October, I was also organizing and managing a Halloween-themed book swap as well as participating in two other Halloween-themed book swaps. For one of my swaps, I completed this awesome witch-themed cross-stitch and I also made a sign that says “Own your magic,” but of course I forgot to take a photo of it before I mailed it.
I also spent October finally organizing some. I got a new bookcase, which I desperately needed. With the addition of my new bookcase, I finally organized my books and bookish knick-knacks.
The coolest thing about this book case is that the smaller front row of shelves slides. And those small shelves are perfect for knick-knacks.
I love it so much I *might* just have to get another one so I have a matching pair.
So reading, crafting, and organizing took up all of October. And now it’s November. Nearly mid-November. And I haven’t written a blog post in nearly a month. October blew by and now November is whizzing by. Why? Because I’m in the middle of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short).
As I mentioned a few posts ago, I have participated in NaNoWriMo every year since 2008. This is my 12th year. And once again, I have fallen firmly in the pantser category despite my good intentions to do some planning. (Pantser, for those not familiar with NaNoWriMo terms, is someone who just starts writing on November 1 with maybe only the vaguest idea. In other words, pantsers write by the seat of their pants.)
I did have good intentions to do some planning in October. I thought I would not only jot some ideas down, but maybe do a tentative outline. But I admit that I did not spend October planning for NaNoWriMo in any way. Seriously, with upteen reading challenges, when would I have had the time anyway?
I did have a sort of story idea back in September. But I went with the new story idea that started nagging me for about a week in mid-October and I’m so glad I did. Of course, I didn’t write the original idea down and now that idea is gone. I hope whomever catches that idea does better with it than I did.
Despite my lack of planning, I did block out 7 pm to 9 pm Monday though Friday and 8 am to 10 am on the weekends to write. By scheduling writing time, I’ve not only made writing a priority, I’ve made it a routine. And my 2020 story, which is tentatively called Ghost Dog, has been flowing out of me as fast as I can write it.
After day 1 went so well, I decided to set a daily word count goal of 2,000 words, which is above the NaNoWriMo daily goal of 1,667 words. So far, I have hit my target 2,000 word count goal within 90 minutes or less. That has averaged out to about 2 chapters a night. Once I hit my target goal and reach a good stopping point (which has been more than 2,000 words), I allow myself to stop early. Like a reward system.
To further motivate me, I keep track of my daily word count. And this year, I have set some personal bests.
In 2017, it took me until November 15 to hit 25,000 words and until November 28 to reach 50,000 words. (See my posted 2017 daily word count here). Although I can’t find my word count by day for 2013 (the other year I “won” NaNoWriMo), I know it took me until the end of the month to hit 50,000 words.
This year, I hit 25,000 words yesterday, November 10. FIVE days before my 2017 record and five days before NaNoWriMo progress chart. (If I was writing 1,667 words per day, I’d be at 18,337 on November 10).
I contribute my success so far to primarily being in a good mental place—I live on a sub-tropical island, which I love; I watch the ocean daily, which is relaxing; I love my job and have a fantastic boss, which is all-around good—and so, despite the challenges of this year, I have relatively low stress levels right now.
And so I’m on track to hit 50,000 words on November 19. I may or may not make that goal, but I will write 50,000 words by the end of the month. And having such a nice word count cushion further eases the stress of writing.
I’m having a great NaNoWriMo season so far.
So make sure to check back at the end of the month for my NaNoWriMo 2020 wrap-up post. I may even share a bit of my rough draft. In the meantime, I’ll update my daily word count on my new NaNoWriMo 2020 word count page.