Or, Of COURSE I’m Doing This to Myself Again
(And no, I don’t feel ANY shame for using this blog as part of my word count. NaNo Rebelling here I come! LOL)
At this point, if you read this blog, you probably know what NaNoWriMo is, but just in case, I’ll sum it up. It’s a writing event that takes place in November (though there are now a variety of “camp” months that happen at other times during the year, too) with thousands of folks all attempting to write a “novel” or 50,000 words in a month. Yes, you read that number correctly. 50k. It’s uh… it’s a lot. That’s 1,667 words a day, y’all. For 30 days. In. A. Row. (Or sixteen sixty FUCKING seven, as it is *cough* affectionately referred to in the community… usually later on in the month after some of us inevitably fall farther behind than we’d hoped to LOL)
(It’s possible writers tend toward a bit of masochism.)
Granted, 50k isn’t technically a novel’s amount of words depending on the genre and age category. The books I tend to write for instance average anywhere from 70k on the low end to 90k or so. But still, 50k is a hell of a start to a rough draft or a large portion of a rough draft for most folks. And with it being such a huge event, it’s a lot easier to get into the writing mindset with tons of folks cheering each other on.
I’ve participated for, well, a lot of years now (I can’t actually remember exactly how many and while I’m sure that info is available SOMEWHERE on the website, I haven’t been able to find it this morning and really it doesn’t actually matter - what matters is that I’m doing it at all), and while I haven’t “won” every time(as in wrote all 50k), I have at least written SOMETHING every single time I signed up. I’ve never had a zero-word month when I've signed up for NaNoWriMo events, and I figure that is progress no matter what.
Now when I DO hit 50k, I’m thrilled as hell, and you can be sure that I’d love to do it again this year. And hey, I seem to be off to a good start if this blog is anything to go by! I’ve also given myself the gift of an entire week to run away to an Airbnb with a writer friend for an unofficial NaNoWriMo retreat this year. I don’t always get to do so, and I know I have a LOT of privilege that I get to do so at all, but considering the year we had in 2021, my husbeast and I both thought we could use some getaway time that had nothing to do with family deaths or funerals or some kind of major sickness. And honestly, I could use a mental reset to help me refocus on my writing life considering I still do want to succeed professionally at it, even if I tend to procrastinate/take more time to move forward than I generally would like.
All that to say that while I’ll definitely be reaching at least my minimum 1,667 for the next few days, I’m really hoping to churn out a LOT of my 50k once I am on that trip. I’m setting my minimum daily goal while I’m there to 2,500 words. It isn’t THAT much more than the challenge minimum, but that extra almost a thousand words a day adds up when you are looking at seven days of focused writing (11,669 at the challenge rate versus 17,500 at the increased rate!). And, any more words than than 2,500 will also be welcome for sure!
Now, unlike the original challenge, for me those words will not be on a single project or novel, though. Over the years, I’ve realized I definitely seem to get closer to that magic word count number when I allow myself to “rebel” or write on more than one project(s) and/or work on things I started before the challenge technically began. Plus, this time of year, I usually have multiple fanfiction (hey no judging!) gift exchanges going on, including my all time favorite every year: Yuletide. Having some shorter projects on my goals list allows me to take advantage of one of my fave productivity hacks/rewards: crossing things OFF said list. Otherwise, I’m just staring down an enormous pile of words to be written with no real way to measure my progress beyond just the number on the screen, and my brain just does not find that encouraging at all, honestly. I may use stickers or something on my calendar for every 500 words to help bribe myself into productivity as well, but the list - yeah that works almost every time.
So with that in mind, here’s a quick look at the types of projects I’m working on this year:
First Level Priority (Mostly Short Items and/or items with a deadline):
Yuletide fanfiction assignment (minimum 1,000 words) - Complete 11/07/21
Rare Pair Madness fanfiction assignment (minimum 1,000 words) - Complete 11/06/21
FFFX fanfiction assignment (minimum 10,000 words but not due until late January and already started so roughly 8,500 only left)
Short story for TRANSMOGRIFY open call due early January (4-6,000 words)
Blog Post (as I am behind on my goal of six for the year - even with this one added - whoops! - these usually run anywhere from 600-1,000 words) - Complete 11/04/21
Finish Miranda/Idelle fanfic for prompt fest from YEARS ago (actually may move this one up the priority level as finishing it finally will be a nice mental boost! LOL) - Complete 11/07/21
Second Level Priority (Mid-Length Items and/or those w/out a deadline):
Additional words on YA epistolary thing aka the project of my heart that has been HARD to write, but that I really would like to finish sooner rather than later I think (5-10,000 words?)
Words on random YA action horror thing for possible next book to query (5-10,000 words?)
Words on second story in paranormal romance novella set (5-10,000 words?)
Ghost short story for submitting to lit mags (4-6,000 words?)
Third Level Priority (Fanfiction items that are not assigned/have deadlines/have any wordcount requirements and thus are just for fun):
Next chapter of fanfiction WIP(s) - Daughter of the Shire ch 3 - Complete 11/10/21
Next story for any one of my one-shot series(s)
And yes for those of you at home with math skills, these all do end up adding up to more than 50k depending on which estimate you use/how many words I use for the lowest priority stuff. It’s HIGHLY unlikely I will write all of these - it’s just a list to get me started/give me direction and options for another item to switch to if I get stuck with whatever I’m currently on.
But yeah, that’s my list of tentative goals prioritized by those shorter items that have deadlines (like the fanfic exchange gifts and short stories for specific anthology calls), versus those that don’t have deadlines but that I’d really like to make the most progress on, and finally those those that I don’t really NEED to do but that might be fun to add some words to.
I like options, is what I’m saying LOL.
I will say that rebelling does tend to make tracking my overall word count a little difficult since I’m doing so across various projects, but that’s what copy paste and a single master word document are for (which I’ve already started in google docs and will be using across various platforms I think). It’s a system. I don’t know if it’s a great system, but it’s the one I’ve been using so I’ll stick with it for now.
The whole point of NaNoWriMo, after all, is progress, not perfection. I’ll be putting my inner editor on hold and just playing, both with concepts and stories and even my own process and system.
… granted I WILL have edited this blog post before I put it up on my website today. There’s a limit to my lack of editor, I guess.
But other than that! No editing until something has to be posted/turned in. So there. Yeah.
Or so I will keep telling myself. All. Month. Long. LOL
Wishing everyone else who is diving in a productive month! We can do this!!!!