NaNoWriMo par: 1,667 words/day
NaNoWriMo total: 16,667 words
Personal par: 2,000 words/day
Personal total: 22,250 words
One third of the way through the NaNoWriMo challenge. Par is 16,667 words out of 50,000, but after another good session this morning, I stand at 22,250 words. I added 2,302 words this morning, covering about 2-1/3 scenes of the story. Late yesterday, I listed out the important scenes that I imagine account for something like 80% of the overall story and this morning I worked off that list. What a difference it makes! I glance at the list the night before, choose a couple of scenes that I want to tackle the next day, and then roll them around in my head as I fall asleep. This morning, I got started and knew exactly where I wanted to go. At my current pace, I’m on track to produce 66,700 words at the end of 30 days.
I really enjoy the early morning writing. I think 2 hours is the perfect amount of time, and forcing myself to write 2,000 words in that two hours is the perfect pace for me. Despite all of the writing I’ve done over the years, I don’t think I’ve ever had 10 consecutive days of 2,000+ words. I like the consistency of it. It is comfortable. And it means that I can (potentially) be a lot more productive. When I finish the first draft of the novel, I plan to set it aside for a while, let it sit so I can get some distance from it. But I plan to continue this habit that I am developing. At 2,000 words a day, I can be producing a draft of a short story or short novelette once a week. Of course, there are revisions to account for, but I imagine I could write on the order of 20 stories a year at this pace, which would be unprecedented for me. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to have 20 stories in circulation, making rounds at the various magazines.
Listing out the scenes has been key for me. These may not ultimately be the right scenes, but they keep me writing, and that is what is critical for NaNo. At this point, I am nearly 5,600 words ahead of par. That’s 3-1/3 days. Having the comfort zone provides a cushion that makes the writing less stressful. I don’t feel behind, and certainly, a day or two where things don’t work out as well as they have been will not hurt me. But now that I have the list of scenes, I don’t foresee the kinds of problems I had toward the end of the first week.
I thought I might hit 23,000 words today and if I had stretched myself, I might have. But I stopped in the midst of an exciting scene, hoping that it would allow me to start up quickly tomorrow. It means that when I hit 23,000 words sometime early tomorrow, Far Away Places will officially be the longest single piece of fiction I’ve ever written. And each day that record will continue to grow.
If the novel grows to around 90,000 words, as I have planned, then I expect to finish the first draft sometime around December 15. That I’m actually writing more than 2,000 words/day may push the date up a little, but I think it’s important to have this secondary target in mind so that when NaNoWriMo concludes on November 30, I don’t lose my focus.