NaNoWriMo Day 18!

Here we are at day 18 of National Novel Writing Month and I’m proud to say that I’m still on track to reach 50k words by the end of November. So I’m upping the ante a bit: my new goal is that I want to have this novel complete by November 30th. I’m thinking it’s going to come in somewhere around 70k words, which means I’ve got to basically double my word count for the remaining twelve days.

But that’s okay. Yesterday, using Write or Die, I managed 1,000 words in 15 minutes. If I just do four sessions like that each day, I should have no problem completing this novel. The prose isn’t perfect, but I’m so into the story at this point that what I’m writing in those short bursts is actually pretty good. I just think about it for a few minutes before I start, so I have an idea of what I want to write in those 15 minutes, and then I write. It’s been working really well so far. And if I’m even more pressed for time, I’ll do 500-word sessions (which take me about 8-9 minutes).

I’m hoping that even after NaNoWriMo is over, I can keep writing 2-4k words each day with this method. I’ve been neglecting my fiction for too long. But if I can’t figure out a way to spare a few 15-minute blocks during the day, then I don’t really deserve to call myself a writer, do I?

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5 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo Day 18!

  1. Hey Cameron, glad to hear that you’re doing well at this. I’m stuck. I have 23000 words down, and even though it’s a children’s novel, I can’t seem to work quickly or consistently on it. I have a great test audience of 6 kids, and 2 have read what I’ve done so far, but the others are waiting until I’m done. How do you get past the hump of everyday stuff wearing you down? By the end of the day I’m no good for anything – especially creative writing.

    Everyone’s different I guess.


    • Rather than trying to write at the end of the day, try writing at the beginning. You need about 2500 words/day to catch up at this point (if you started with that number tomorrow). If you break that down into five 15-minute sessions of 500 words each, you’ll be on track. So wake up 15 minutes earlier, and write. Then write on your lunch break. Write when you finish work for the day, then again before or right after dinner, and then again right before bed. Use Write or Die, or set a timer. You could also wake up an hour early and write all 2500 words then. I have a hard time if I wait until the end of the day to write my entire word count. Some nights I can manage it and some nights I can’t. So if I get a thousand words or more done before the end of the day, making up that last few hundred words isn’t as hard.

      Another thing to do is write extra when the mood strikes. I’ve had a few days when I only managed a few hundred words, but other days when I’ve managed a few thousand (my highest day was about 6k words). The key is to fit it in around your schedule, and don’t be afraid to write quickly. Speed has nothing to do with quality. Practice makes you a better writer, and with more practice, you can write better, faster. But in the meantime, go for quantity over quality. You can fix whatever’s wrong in editing.

      Another hint: if you come up with a change you want to make or some detail you need to add in earlier in the story, just make a note wherever you are to go back during revisions. I set my notes apart in brackets: [ ] so that I can search for them later and find all the notes I’ve left myself.

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  3. Measuring a novel in kwords sound a bit like that passage in The little prince:
    “You would have to say to them: “I saw a house that cost $20,000.” Then they would exclaim: “Oh, what a pretty house that is!””

    How it would be measuring the progress by the emotions it elicits…?

    • Measuring a story by those means would make sense, but since a novel is, by definition, a work of narrative fiction over 40k words (or 50k, depending on who you ask), it needs to be measured, at least in part, by the number of words. But a story should be told in the number of words in takes to properly tell; no more, no less.

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