The NanoWriMo Diaries – Week 1

smiley coffeeSo NanoWriMo 2014 is now in full swing and I’ve managed to survive the first week. I’ve decided to keep a short diary of my experiences for the month and will be publishing them weekly here. I’ll try to be as honest as possible, chronicling my emotional state, my successes and my failures more than anything else.   

Day 1:

I’ve been lured into a false sense of security here because NanoWriMo started on a Saturday.  This is normally my one ‘off’ day a week where I have no work or family commitments. Needless to say Saturdays are often my key writing day so writing it has not seemed in anyway weird, hard or out of the ordinary. I clocked up 3000 words today.

Day 2:

I had to get up slightly earlier than usual to try and meet my target as Sundays are usually pretty busy. My novel is going to (eventually) be several interlinking stories but I’ve decided that, for the first draft, each one will be written in a linear fashion, just to get the story on paper.  The characters are a bit one dimensional so far, but they are already doing things and going places that I had not intended in the outline.

Day 3:

First day where I had to go to work and write around it. I wrote 500 words in the morning before breakfast, finishing the remainder after dinner when I got home.  Hit my targets again (barely). It was tougher to motivate myself today, especially in the evening. I’m also feeling a bit guilty about the other things I need to do, e.g. Write up blog posts, do my creative writing class homework, housework etc. I dislike the hackneyed prose that I am writing intensely but I refuse to go back and edit before I have written a draft. This is the whole point of the exercise after all.

Day 4:

Tuesday and another ‘barely reaching my targets’ day. One thing I’m learning is that I don’t need to have a fully functioning outline to just sit down and write. Once I know the key actions that are supposed to happen in the story i.e what is the purpose of the story I am trying to tell – so far – the details are taking care of themselves.  This includes secondary characters and actions.

Day 5:

The first day I did not hit my targets.  Worked from home today but had many non- NanoWriMo commitments. I wrote for an hour and a half after dinner but by 9:30pm could face no more. One good thing came out of today though. I did not do too much research in planning for NanoWriMo but I had to check some historical facts this evening to see if they match with the story. I have one character who was born in Gdansk and it turns out that the history of the city fits in rather well with his tale.

Day 6:

I mostly work in silence but just couldn’t get going today. I had to do my writing early because of both work and my creative writing class this evening. I put on some movie soundtrack music to try and glue my arse to the chair until I hit my targets. It wasn’t pleasant but it did the job. I also broke the 10,000 word barrier today, which felt good but also felt bad. At the rate the the story is developing it will be closer to 120,000 words by the time I’m done with the first draft, so my 10,000 words is still a drop in the ocean of where I have to get to.

Day 7:

Spent the early morning putting up a blog post, so didn’t start writing till 5:30pm. Actually, make that 6:30pm because I wasted an hour listening to the Rocky Horror soundtrack on YouTube. I wrote the first 1000 words while making dinner. Logged into the NanoWriMo Write-In on YouTube to try and motivate me to complete the last 667 for the day. I enjoyed doing these word sprints but felt there were too many breaks in between. Out of 36 minutes only 12 of those were spent writing. Today was difficult in other ways. Several inconsistencies in the plot have made themselves known. The urge to go back and fix them now is great but this would slow down progress. I am not sure what to do next.

12 Comment

  1. I think NaNoWriMo is insane and I don’t say it as a bad thing. I couldn’t do it, honestly so for me everybody participating in this deserves an award. I’m not a writer myself, that’s reason number one for not participating, and if I were, well, I wouldn’t do it simply because the stress would kill me. No kidding hahaha

    1. thenovelprojectchronicle says: Reply

      LOL. There’ve been some up and down’s alright but hopefully I won’t be dead from stress 🙂 What’s really mad is there are some wonderful people who are finished already.

  2. Congrats on surviving the first week – you’re doing a great job! I’m sure it will will only get easier as you find ways to fit it in with everything else going on in your life. Keep it up!

    1. thenovelprojectchronicle says: Reply

      Thanks a lot. I’m hoping that’ll be the case alright. So far so good. 🙂

  3. Laura says: Reply

    Congrats on hitting your targets! It sounds like you’re doing well!
    I bet getting 3,000 out of the way in the first day has really helped out. I made the mistake of not keeping going much past my daily target early on, whilst I was still really enthusiastic! By the time I got to Thursday, I was having plot problems, and found it really hard to get into (and therefore didn’t reach my target!). I like your way of dealing with plot inconsistencies though, and I may have to try that, so that whatever happens with the plot, I can still complete my targets for the day, and just come back to it during the editing stage.
    Good luck with week two!

    1. thenovelprojectchronicle says: Reply

      Yeah, the extra word count banked on the first day really helped although I’ve a feeling I’ll need to have another marathon session towards the end.

      A few seasoned NanoWriMoer’s told me just before I got started that pacing can be important. So a few slow days early on while you work out the kinks might not be such a bad thing.

      Good luck – you’re doing great!!!

  4. Myk says: Reply

    Glad you survived the first week, it does get easier I promise.
    Here’s onward to week two!

    1. thenovelprojectchronicle says: Reply

      Thanks for commenting. I’m actually slightly surprised with myself for keeping up with daily targets. I find it’s a bit like getting out of bed in the mornings. You really have to force yourself to do it but once you’re up and started it’s not so bad.

      Good Luck with week two.

  5. This is such a good idea!!! WOOT. I didn’t record any of my thoughts as I wrote, but I did tweet snippets (probably way too annoyingly consistent, hehe) and that kind of shows me how much I enjoyed/struggled with the day depending on how much I twitted. lol But I’m glad you got through this first week! Sometimes it’s insaaaaanely hard just to make yourself sit down and put words on the page, right? Especially if you’re not 100% happy with how they’re turning out.

    1. thenovelprojectchronicle says: Reply

      Thanks so much for the encouragement. I’ve been jotting down my thoughts/feelings at the end of each day just to see where I end up. You know, so when I get my million dollar book deal we can all look back on this and laugh :-p

      Tweeting is really cool too I think because it lets others know about the emotional roller-coaster that is NanoWriMo in real time and lets people know that they are not alone, whether you make it to your word count in the first week or only have 1000 words to show.

      Onwards and Upwards (and congrats again – i am in awe!) 🙂

  6. This is a great post, thanks for sharing your progress. I laughed out loud at the listening to Rocky Horror on YouTube – I’ve watched more YouTube videos since I started my PhD than I would in an average year! Yes to all of this – finding it hard; the urge to go back; hating the writing because you’re hammering it out. But you’ve passed 10000 words – that’s huge, even if it’s only a small percentage of the final word count, all those words that have helped you work out what it id you’re doing. Looking forward to the next update.

    1. thenovelprojectchronicle says: Reply

      Hey, thanks for dropping by.

      Yes YouTube is my nemesis when trying to get work done!

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