Today marks week two (2!) of NaNoWrimo.
My total word count, including some pre-writing, is: 40,277. That’s 102 pages single spacing in word, for all you MS Office jockeys.
I tend to write about ~2500 words a day, with a low of zero and a high of ~4800.
Lessons learned this week:
1. Writing Breeds Writing
I find that when I get to writing, it takes about 15 minutes to turn the spigot to “full.” Once it’s there, no one can stop the torrent. My fiancee can attest to my being late to pick her up on account of writing that last bit of a chapter. It’s the best kind of addictive.
2. Outlining is Still Important, if Not More Important
I said this last week, and I’ll say it again: outline your story before you start. I wrote the first four chapters “pantser” style and floundered, not knowing where to go. With an outline, I’m never lost. It takes all of an hour to do, and is more valuable than you’ll ever realize (until you do it).
3. Skip a Chapter
Got a chapter you have to write, but it’s just not coming to you? Skip that shit! Move onto the next, exciting and fresh chapter. I’ve done this 4-5 times now, and always find that after some time away from the story, the content for the chapter I skipped just appears. Keep moving forward, even if it’s not perfectly chronological.
4. Rest, Kind Souls
Take a break. Sleep. Do some other work. Eat. Drink a beer. Anything to get your mind off of your story. There comes a point (after ~4500 words) where I get sloppy and stupid. My characters sound like drunken kindergarteners. My plot becomes Hop on Pop with laser rifles. It all falls to shit. When you see this coming, step away. You can always pick it up tomorrow.
5. Until People Have Read the Draft, Shut Up
The story is amazing in your head. It’s already a NY Times bestseller, and the movie deal is just sitting in the outbox of a producer waiting for you to publish your masterpiece. I get it, I’m right there. Unfortunately, no one (except the mind goblins) live inside your head. No one gets your characters or your awesome twists, because its still just a fledgling story growing in your skull. Until you’ve got a draft for someone to read, try to shut up about the tiny nuances of every little bit of your story. For the record, I suck at this.
I should hit the allocated 50,000 sometime this week, which is pretty awesome. Looks like I might even make my goal of ~80,000 by the end of November!