November Diary / NaNo 2018

Day One – Thursday

Why don’t I have a plan?

It’s day one of NaNoWriMo and I don’t have anything to write. This is why people take Preptober so seriously.

On one hand I knew this would happen. I didn’t have a specific direction and didn’t want to force a novel that wasn’t ready to be written. On the other hand, it would feel like such an accomplishment to write 50,000 words in a month and have another project to be working on.

Okay. Okay, okay, okay.

I just need to remind myself that it’s completely fine to write small things and see where they go. They might not have a specific purpose, but they’ll mean something because writing is expressing yourself. This month isn’t about me writing words for the sake of it, but doing something I love.

The word count isn’t the definition of success.

I’ve literally written a novel this year and gotten a poem published. I’ve got my blog, I’ve got my plants. Why forget these great things just because it’s November and I might write less than other people?

Day Three – Saturday

As incentive, my reward for reaching 10,000 words will be to make a batch of savoury muffins and enjoy with much butter.

I am not at 10,000 words, but one day I will be and we will all rejoice for the savoury muffin fest.

In terms of the writing itself, I think I have direction. After writing yesterday and today some ideas have grown wings and are flying into my word document. (That was a bit of a gross metaphor but I’m keeping it.) I don’t know if these ideas are worth 50,000 words, but they should at least get me to the savoury muffin line. Don’t the experts say to break big goals into small, trackable goals? Savoury muffins are helping me achieve, campers. Achieve!

I also bought some new plants, and their names are: Zelda Zamperini and Spikelet. My plants, alongside cups of tea, are getting me through the day. Together, we got this.

Day Seven – Wednesday

Day seven and I’m going strong! I’m currently 100 words ahead of schedule, so I’m hoping to do a lot of writing today so I’m ahead by a larger amount.

On Monday (day five) I only wrote 200 words and it was quite discouraging, but last night I wrote about 3,000 words, and today 2,000 words, so I’m feeling capable of reaching 50,000 by the end of the month. It’s also incredibly satisfying to write such big chunks of writing in a small span of time.

My novel has vague direction, and even though I’m still writing random scenes and bits of dialogue, I know how each scene will move the plot forward. The word document is completely out of order, but it feels good to have over 10,000 words.

And you know what that means? Savoury muffin day! *Savoury muffin dance*

I’ll bake some savoury muffins today or tomorrow in celebration of hitting the double digits and we’ll all be happy because it’s not possible to eat a savoury muffin and not be happy.

These updates are relatively short, but it feels nice to write something not NaNo related and to have no word count. Also, I haven’t killed my plants yet so I’m going strong on every front.

I’m thinking that later today I’ll organise my NaNo-word-doc so the bits and pieces I’ve written are in order. This way, if I get stuck later in the month I can fill in the gaps instead of struggling to move the story forward. Ah, organising a word document. Such fun. (This isn’t sarcasm – I am, quite genuinely, looking forward to rearranging and sorting out the mess.)

Day Nine – Friday

It feels like I’ve been struggling through NaNoWriMo for weeks, not nine days. But, good news: I’m on target. I’m a hundred words ahead of schedule and feeling good about the words I’m putting on the page.

Savoury muffins were cooked and enjoyed as a reward for writing 10,000 words (though for some reason the recipe only made seven and they were all tiny. What went wrong? Nobody knows.) and my next reward is at 20,000.

I’m equally impressed and annoyed at myself though, because I’ve got a little list of rewards every 10,000 words, and for some reason, the Sarah from October thought it’d be a good idea to make my 20,000 word reward exercise.

You heard right: my reward for writing 20,000 words is to go for a run.

At the time, I thought it was a good idea because I’ve been at my laptop more than usual, and going outside and having a run is definitely a good thing. But with the reward looming closer (it’s only 5,000 words away!) I’m wondering why I thought it was deemed a reward. Self-care, maybe, but reward? Come on, Sarah, who’re you kidding?

I’ve been incorporating poetry into my novel, which is making it more enjoyable, though I’m not loving the novel I’m writing. It’s just so choppy and vague, I can’t pinpoint the moral of the story, or why I’m writing it. Still, I’ll continue, and maybe all will become clear by the 30th.

It feels good to be writing, in the least.

Day Seventeen – Saturday

It’s been a while – all my words are being used up in a novel.

We’re more than halfway through the month, and no two days have felt the same. One day I’ll write a lot and be ahead, the next three days I won’t write a thing and I’ll refuse to open the word document.

Right now I’m on track. I haven’t written today’s words, but I’m fairly confident I can get there – I only have to write another 1,000 words and I’ll hit the daily goal. Last night I wrote til late because I had to catch up on 3,500 words. But hey, that’s cool. It was an experience.

There are two problems contributing to my lack of motivation.

1 / I walked into the library empty handed and left with eight books. At the start of the month I told myself that as a reward for reaching the 50,000 words I would go to the library and spend the next three months hibernating with a stack of books. But I was driving home from work and I couldn’t resist the pull! And eight books isn’t many for me; I held back, honestly! I tried. Point is, I’ve been spending my nights reading instead of writing.

2 / The Sims 4 brought out a new expansion pack. The dangerous cycle begins once more, in which I spend all my time playing Sims until my eyes are shrivelled up raisins and I’m dehydrated.

Still, I’m on track with words (despite the roller coaster that is self-discipline) so I must be doing something right.

Day Thirty – Friday

Safe to say, I did not reach 50,000 words this month.

You may be thinking – Sarah, you still have three hours left of November, you can write more in this time! But let’s face it: I will not be writing anything after this blog post has been sent into the internet world.

The first 20 days of November went well with my novel. Even though I wasn’t writing the suggested amount of words every day, I caught up every other day. Despite not having a clear novel idea in mind when I started, I gained direction and answers to several plot points that weren’t quite linking up at the beginning.

In essence, NaNoWriMo motivated me to write again and got me back into the habit of writing, even when it was difficult. I’m proud of what I’ve achieved this month: 35,633 words! The challenge of writing so many words was – dare I say it – fun, and I do find I write more when I have a specific goal mind.

A good experience, and the start of a second novel that I’m quite keen to complete.

Well, there you have it. November has flown past, pulling my novel along and welcoming me into the Christmas season.

Sarah xx

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