NaNoWriMo Day 6

NaNoWriMo par: 1,667 words/day
NaNoWriMo total: 10,000 words
Personal par: 2,000 words/day
Personal total: 13,235 words

Today was the first day that I didn’t make my personal goal (although I still exceeded NaNoWriMo par).  I finished this morning with 1,839 words, 161 words short of my goal.  I suppose I could have prodded on for another 5 minutes and gotten the words, but this was a tough writing morning for me.

For one thing, I feltlike I was just writing "scenes" without any sense of where they fit into the story.  I spent a part of yesterday putting together an elaborate time-line to help me keep track of people and events (and their relative ages), since there are many characters and the novel spans 153 years or so.  The result was pretty impressive (in my mind), but it left me for the second day in a row, not thinking much about what to write the next day, and when that happens, I feel like I have no direction.  I’ve got my brain processing in the background, trying to work out where the story will go tomorrow so I don’t run into the same problem.

Still, I felt accomplished today, even if the write came more slowly.  For one thing, I’ve written nearly 2,000 words every day for 6 days in a row now.  For the last five of those six days, I’ve done my writing between 5-7am.  I find that I enjoy getting up at 5 am; that I look forward to it when I know I will be spending the first 2 hours of the day writing.  When the first draft of the novel is done, I see myself continuing this.  At this rate, I can produce a complete short story in about a week.  I certain don’t have any lack of ideas.  And it’s the writing that matters; it’s the only way you learn to improve.

These first six days have also helped to build my confidence.  For 6 days, now, the pattern has been about the same:  up at 5am, sit in front of the computer by 5:10 and start writing.  Two hours can seem daunting.  It’s my plan not to move from that spot, even if the writing isn’t coming (but fortunately, so far, that hasn’t happened).  The writing comes slowly at first, and for the first 10-20 minutes, I seem to write only a paragraph or two and I feel like I won’t even come close to making my goal.  (I definitely felt like that today.)  But things pick up, I get into a groove, and before I know it, nearly 2 hours have passed and I’ve hit my mark.

When I slow down, I find myself thinking it is because I’m not interesting in what is happening.  And if I am not interested, why would a reader be interested?  In those cases, I try to do something dramatic:  change the setting of the scene from, say, a boardroom, the cockpit of a spacecraft.  Or write the scene from a different character’s perspective; this morning, I started a scene that I thought would be tough (and perhaps boring) from the point of view of the feisty wife of one of the characters.  It definitely helped to make it more interesting to write, and it gave me some perspective on where that part of the story is going.

Tomorrow is Saturday, and Day 7.  The first week will be done.  On weekends I try to do my writing between 7-9 am.  I may push it a little longer tomorrow to see if I can’t make up the extra words I missed today.  As it stands, I am already a full 2 days above NaNoWriMo par–that is, I could not write for 2 days and still be on track–but my goal is higher and I want it to stay there.  Hopefully having a better idea of where things are going will help with that.  It would be nice to finish off the week with some 16,000 words written.