Tag Archives: word goal

The Final Days of NaNo

NaNoWriMo Diary – The Day After

Total number of words written: ???

Coke consumed on last day: 1 can

Chocolate consumed on last day: 3 Tim tams, ice-cream drizzled with chocolate topping

Yesterday was the last day of NaNoWriMo for 2011. Did I make it?

A couple of days ago I was in a panic. With only a few days left to go I could see the finish line ahead of me, I had passed 40k words, but at the same time I wasn’t sure how I was going to get to 50k by the end of the month. With five days to go I still had 10k to write–2000 words a day. I thought I could make a big dent over the weekend to give me some leeway when my busy week started and I had less time. It didn’t work out that way. I ended up babysitting over the weekend and had four kids aged 6 and under from Saturday before lunch until Sunday after lunch. Saturday fizzled at 1000 words, but I managed to get over 2000 on Sunday. At this point I had pretty much resigned myself to the fact I probably wouldn’t hit 50k by November 30, but that was okay, I would still write as much as I could.

Monday: With three days to go, I still needed another 6000 – 7000 words. Monday is my busiest day of the week and I didn’t quite make 2000, although I did write the most I have written on a Monday for the whole of November, which was an accomplishment nonetheless.

Tuesday: I was looking 5000 words in two days. I thought I would have all day Tuesday free, but ended up having lunch at the in-laws. I got to 2,200 words.

The final day: I needed 2,800 words to finish. I debated skipping taking my daughter to playgroup so I could stay home and write, but didn’t think that would be fair to my daughter, so I took her. It turned out to work in my favour. She was so tired after playgroup she was quite subdued and quiet after we got home, allowing me a good block of writing time. My muse was exceptionally kind yesterday. I was at a part of the story that just seemed to flow out easily. I knew what I wanted to happen and didn’t need to sit and think too much about it. Plus there were some good opportunities for description–that helped.

At around 10.30 last night I crossed the 50k line! I did it. I wrote 50k in a month. My final word count was: 50224. I wrote over 3000 words yesterday, almost matching my highest word count day for the month.

Is it a novel? Not yet. Since it’s a fantasy it will need to hit at least 90000 words before it could be considered complete and I’m nowhere near the resolution yet, so I still have some writing to do. Then, of course, there’s the editing and revisions. I’ll take a bit of a break over December, though. And today I get to celebrate by putting up my Christmas decorations!

Some stats…

Highest word count day: Day 1–3075 words

Lowest word count day: Day 17–0 words

Average word count: 1674 words per day

Highest average day: Tuesdays (average 2582 words)

Lowest average day: Mondays (average 1005 words)

P.S. I haven’t done a Helpful Sites and Blog Posts post for November as I just didn’t get time in the last few days of November, so I will be combing it with December’s post.

Advertisements

The Final Sprint

NaNoWriMo Diary – Day 25

Total number of words written: 39740

Words Written Today: 2255

Coke consumed: 1 can

Chocolate consumed: 2 fun size Snickers, ice-cream drizzled with chocolate topping

Technically it’s the morning of day 26 for me, but I was so busy trying to get a decent word count yesterday I didn’t get a chance to write my blog post, so I’m writing it first thing this morning and pretending it’s still yesterday.

At the moment I’m still trying to push uphill. I should have hit 40000 words on day 24. As it stands now I’m still about 260 words from hitting that mark. Although I’m getting good writing days in here and there (like yesterday when I got over 2000 words for the day), on the other days my word count is low, making it hard to catch back up. I’m finding the time factor to be playing a big role this year. My calendar continues to fill up, my days are packed full of busyness (shopping takes longer at the moment because I’m starting to get organised for Christmas and my son’s birthday), and pregnancy means I’m more tired (and sore) than usual after a day of activities and housework.

Working title will most likely change. I haven't done graphics in months and have never used photoshop before, so it's a rough cover.

Enter procrastination. I’ll admit I spent yesterday morning playing with photoshop to make a mock book cover for my NaNo novel (I had gone on photoshop originally to make invitations for my son’s birthday party, then ended up making the mock cover too). The time spent on photoshop making the mock cover, would have been better spent actually writing the novel itself, though I convinced myself I was doing it for inspiration. After chastising myself for procrastinating, I did end up with a good word count for the day, so maybe it was good motivation after all.

Write or Die has been my saviour. I can largely thank it for my good word count days this half of NaNo. If I’m sitting there procrastinating I just get Write or Die up and I can guarantee myself just over 400 words in fifteen minutes. A couple of bursts like that through the day really helps get the words on the page.

I’m still determined to reach 50000 in the next five days, though it will be a hard uphill battle. Somehow I will fit those words in around babysitting this afternoon, shopping and play rehearsal on Monday and playgroup on Wednesday. 10000 words in five days. Can I do it? I sure hope so. But if I don’t, I’ll have made a good go at it.

Photo Credits: Angelina Jolie, Tomb Raider (Paramount); Alexander Skarsgard, True Blood (HBO); texture by C4D

Not Giving Up

NaNoWriMo Diary – Day 20

Total number of words written: 31533

Words Written Today: 1512 (so far)

Coke consumed: 1 can

Chocolate consumed: none 😦 We have completely run out of chocolate in the house. There’s not even any Milo left. Oh wait, I ate one of the kids’ tubs of chocolate custard (it was opened and left uneaten by one of the kids, so I did what any good mother would do. Couldn’t let it go to waste after all).

I know quite a few fellow NaNo-ers who have pulled out of NaNoWriMo this year after finding it just wasn’t working for them, whether because the story wasn’t inspiring them or life was just not allowing them the time to write. It can be a brave move having the guts to realise it’s not working and pulling out. I, on the other hand, have a stubborn personality and a competitive nature that won’t let me give up.

Things have not been looking good on the word count front the past week. I had my first zero word count day on Thursday. I’d had a dismal word count the day before and was already behind, but I’d had a stressful morning dealing with business paperwork and screaming kids while also suffering from dizziness and a mega headache (possibly the headache was related to the screaming kids)–not exactly conducive to getting any writing done. By the afternoon the kids had calmed down (okay, so I resorted to putting on a DVD and turned them into zombies for an hour), the paperwork was out of the way and my headache had subsided. But by this point all I wanted to do was relax, so I decided I would have a complete break from my novel that day, even though I knew it would mean a lot of catching up. I think I needed that break, so I didn’t regret doing it

Friday was a scorcher here. We hit 35 degrees celsius. Anyone who knows me knows I don’t cope well in heat, especially when I’m pregnant. But still, I managed to get 600 words written, which wasn’t too bad considering.

Yesterday I was looking at a mountain of words in front of me to catch up. It was daunting. I was sitting about 4000 words behind where I needed to be. I knew it was time to break out Write or Die. I got a few good writing bursts out of it, including 450 words in 15 minutes in one session. Even with a visit to my sister’s in the afternoon I had managed to push past 30000 by the end of the day, and even though I was still behind, it felt good to get past that mark.

I had planned another big writing day today to get me back on par, but waking up with nearly no voice, a sore throat and feeling like death warmed up, my plans were dashed. I’ve managed 1500 despite feeling horrible, but my head really isn’t in it today. Thank goodness hubby suggested ordering a roast chicken meal to be home delivered so I don’t have to cook tonight.

I’ll be starting this week a day behind, but maybe I’ll get a couple of good days in. I’m still determined to hit that 50000 mark by November 30.

P.S. I got a surprise in my inbox the other day: an email telling me my blog had been listed on the ’50 Best Blogs for NaNoWriMo Support’. If you’re doing NaNoWriMo check out the list, there are some really great sites listed.

Hump Day

NaNoWriMo Diary – Day 15

Total number of words written: 25076

Words Written Today: 2898

Coke consumed: 1 can

Chocolate consumed: 3 squares Smarties chocolate

Yes, I know it’s not Wednesday yet, but I’m not talking about midweek hump day, I’m talking about mid-NaNoWriMo hump day. It’s day 15, the halfway point. Looking at my word count this morning I was sitting just over 22,000 words, which meant I needed 3000 today to catch up to where I needed to be at 25,000 words–halfway to 50,000. The only day so far where I’ve written that many words in one day was on day 1 when motivation was extremely high.

The last few days have been tough for me in terms of word count. Over the weekend I was suffering from bad dizzy spells which was making it hard for me to do anything that required concentration, including writing. I have not made the daily word count goal (of 1667 words) since day 10. Yesterday and Sunday I only just scraped half of that.

I knew yesterday was going to be a bad day for writing, and despite knowing I had fallen short of where I needed to be for that day already because of a dismal weekend, there was nothing I could do about it. I was just too busy. Shopping that took most of the morning, a quick lunch, then pick up son from kinder, then only a short break before we had to go to my son’s play rehearsal. Back home just in time to cook dinner. I had basically resigned myself to the fact it would be my first 0 word count day. But then my competitive nature kicked in. I was tired, but I propped my laptop on my knee as I watched TV and thought, even if I only get a sentence or two, it’s still something. I just couldn’t go to bed knowing I had written 0 words for the day. As it happened, once I started writing the words kept flowing and I ended up with over 800 before I gave in to my tiredness and went to bed.

When I woke up this morning I knew I had a tough job in front of me. I wanted desperately to be at 25k at the halfway point, but it meant 3000 words today to get there. By 10am I had written 1000 and I thought to myself, “maybe I can do this after all.” I took a break, did some jobs for the farm, then set up my laptop at the dining room table over lunch. I wrote another 1000 words. Somehow I had found renewed motivation and my story had found new energy. I took another break, did some housework, then sat down and wrote another 800. I hit 25,000. I felt like channeling my inner Dora the Explorer and singing, “I did it! I did it!”

Now I’m over hump day, I’m just hoping I can keep up momentum all the way to day 30. I’m looking forward to tomorrow as I’m going in for my glucose test. No, not looking forward to getting my blood taken, but I’ll have one whole hour of waiting to myself in the waiting room. Instead of taking a book like I usually would, I’m taking a notebook and pen. 1 hour of peace and quiet with nothing to do but write.

P.S. Note the minimal amount of chocolate I consumed today 😀 Banana lollies and caramel popcorn totally don’t count.

P.P.S. The temperature just hit 30 degrees celsius. Even the heat didn’t deter me today! (Though right now it’s starting to hit me hard, so I’m glad I got all those words out of the way before it did hit me.)

3 Symptoms of the Week 2 Blues (and How to Cure It)

NaNoWriMo Diary – Day 10

Total number of words written: 16283

Words Written Today: 250 (so far)

Coke consumed: 1 can

Chocolate consumed: 1 fun size Crunchie, half a cup of Milo–by which I mean just dry Milo, no milk or hot water involved (so far, but it’s only 2pm) (have sadly run out of milky ways) I should probably also mention the caramel popcorn and starbursts, but technically they’re not chocolate 🙂

In NaNo land there is something known as the ‘Week 2 blues’ and unfortunately it seems to have hit me the past few days.On top of that, it’s been a super busy week in Mummy land. I’ve had antenatal appointments, immunisations for Miss 2 (which turned out to be much more of a drama than it was supposed to be), an afternoon at the cinema with a group of playgroup mums and the usual weekly shopping trip. I’ve just signed my son up for the local Christmas play, so we’ll be attending rehearsals for that every week, the first one was on Monday. I also decided this week the fridge was in desperate need of a cleanout, not to mention the cupboard under the sink. And November’s calendar is filling up fast!

Sunday and Monday were both low word count days. On Sunday I consumed at 3 cans of Coke, ate a great deal of chocolate and ended up getting KFC for dinner, but still didn’t get near the daily word goal. I did go to the movies in the afternoon, though, and even though I lost a few hours writing time, I think I needed that break and to get out of the house to reenergise.

Since there’s nothing I can do about life’s happenings, I’m going to focus on getting over these week two blues.

The Symptoms:

1. Motivational high of week one has pretty much all fizzled out. All the excitement of going into a new story, all the buzz of new ideas, that spurred an initial surge of words spewing onto the page has died down.

2. It’s getting harder to push words out onto the page. You find yourself staring at the page, letting distractions take over. Whereas in the first week the words seemed to flow onto the page easily, this week you feel like you have to pry them from your brain.

3. You know where you want your characters to go, but don’t know how to get them there. You have your plan, you know what your next plot point is, but trying to get them there has you stumped.

So how am I supposed to get past this week two slump? I know other NaNoers who have simply quit, deciding NaNo just isn’t working for them this year. Some have changed stories and gone into a new idea with renewed motivation (I did this last year). Some have decided to take the pressure off by not worrying about the word count and just writing what they can, when they can.

I still love my story idea, and I want to keep on, so here are some ways I’m going to try to tackle the week two blues that have worked for me in the past.

The Cure:

1. Stay focused on where I want my story to go, but also let it surprise me with plot twists and extra details. My characters have just found the first clue to a conspiracy that I had not planned at all. It was an interesting surprise and a nice addition to build upon my plot.

2. Push past the ‘writer’s block’ by just writing. Write or Die has been a big help with this in the past in getting from one point to another.Wordwars/wordsprints are helpful too, and there are always NaNoers around on Twitter who are up for some word wars.

3. Decrease distractions by writing on my laptop (which has only Word programs and is not connected to the internet).

I am so grateful for that week one padding I built up when my motivation was still high, it has helped a lot this week. At the moment I’m trying to keep just ahead each day. I find if I think, “I only have to write 900 words tomorrow to reach the goal”, it gives me motivation going into the next day, because the goal isn’t as overwhelming as staring at the prospect of writing 1667. And then when I’ve hit the goal, I think, “Well now it’s only 700 more and I’ll have written 1667”. It breaks it into chunks, which makes the goal seem easier to reach.

Author Jody Hedlund has a great post on writing after the initial passion has fizzled: How to Keep Writing When the Honeymoon is Over

How is everyone else going? Have you been hit with the week 2 blues? How are you coping with them? What strategies are you using to keep on going?

My 2 Year Old Whip Cracker

NaNoWriMo Diary – Day 5

Total number of words written: 10231

Words Written Today: 2121 (so far)

Coke consumed: 2 cans

Chocolate consumed: 6 fun size Milky Ways, 4 squares Marble chocolate, bowl of ice-cream drizzled with chocolate topping (so far)

As it stands, day one was my best day in terms of word count. Day two was pretty good, considering my morning meant getting child one ready for kinder and dropping him off, followed by playgroup for child two and a trip to the library, meaning my morning was a complete write off. But in two days I had managed to reach the day three goal. Things went downhill a bit after that.

On Thursday morning I managed only 70 words before breakfast, and I was lucky to get that. Dear daughter was having a rather demanding morning and every time I put fingers to the keyboard I was pulled away by whinging, nagging, fighting, or sometimes just plain old wanting a chat. I gave up trying to type. I also realised, after the last two days of writing, it was time to get stuck into some housework as the toys were taking over and the washing piling up. Between bits of housework, when the kids were playing nicely, I slipped in a sentence here and there. With a burst in the afternoon and another big burst after the kids went to bed, my Thursday word count wasn’t looking so bad after all.

Friday. Oh, Friday. ‘Twas really not a good writing day. I woke up tired. No words at all before breakfast, despite being up quite early, as my brain just couldn’t think straight enough to put words on the page. Got a little bit written after taking son to kinder and before I had to take daughter to her swimming lesson. Then to the in-laws’ for lunch and an afternoon spent with my hubby’s sister who was visiting with her family from interstate. Got a little writing done before cooking dinner and a bit more after kids were in bed, but went to bed early with only 800 words under my belt for the day. Was thankful to have that extra padding from previous days.

Which brings me to today. Although Saturday is my ‘day off’ from housework, I was worried with the expected hot temperatures I wouldn’t get much writing done since I don’t cope well in the heat while pregnant (brain turns to mush). So I endeavoured to get as much writing done as possible before it got too hot. But I found my story had hit a point where I wasn’t sure how to push forward, so the writing was slow. On top of that, my motivation was low after receiving a short story rejection in my email (one I had been feeling quite positive about). I found myself procrastinating on the internet, but my husband was my saviour (though he doesn’t know it). He wanted to watch a movie on the computer, so I transferred my story over to my laptop, which not only had no internet to distract me, but also only has Wordpad, which doesn’t show the word count like Word does, so I couldn’t obsessively keep checking my word count. I ended up staying on my laptop for the rest of the day and as a result hit 2000 words for the day, pushing me over the 10000 word mark in total. And the heat turned out to be not so bad after all, I managed to keep the house relatively cool, plus the dining table is a much cooler place to write than the computer (as that room gets quite warm in the afternoon).

As for the 2 year old whip cracker… Sitting at my laptop, and getting a wee bit distracted, I started singing along to the children’s show that was on TV. My daughter, who was sitting opposite at me, looked at me with the sternest of looks and jabbed a pointed finger at my laptop as if to say, “Stop singing, keep writing.”

Point taken.

Off to a Racing Start

NaNoWriMo Diary – Day 1

Number of words written: 3075

Coke consumed: 1 can

Chocolate consumed: 3 fun size Milky Ways, 4 squares Marble chocolate, 1 fun size Kit Kat

I’m off to a positive start on my first day of NaNo. My motivation is high. I got on the computer at 7.30am and made a deal with myself that I wouldn’t turn on the internet until breakfast. By 8.15am (when I stopped for breakfast) I had written 700 words. I should make this deal with myself everyday! Although, when I first sat down to write I wondered whether I would get more than a sentence written as it seemed like every time I put my fingers to the keyboard my 2yo came up to talk to me or asked me to help her into her princess dress or started crying over something that was frustrating her and I needed to help her or give her cuddles. Thankfully she settled in the end.

I alternated housework and spending time with the kids with writing bursts throughout the day. I wrote one or two hundred words here and there when the kids were occupied playing and my pregnant body needed to sit down after hanging washing or vacuuming the floor.

The second deal I made with myself was to hit the daily word goal of 1667 words before the Melbourne Cup started. At 2.30pm (half an hour before the race was due to start) I hit 1668. After the Cup had finished I decided to keep going so I would have extra words up my sleeve for later in the month when my motivation is waning or I have days when I don’t have as much time to write. I aimed to double the daily word count (3,333 words) before PB Lit Chat started at 9pm (kids were in bed by 8pm–late for them). Didn’t quite make it, but 3000 is a pretty good effort for day 1, I think.

I’m feeling really good about this story. I’ve already introduced the two main characters and set up their relationship to each other and I’ve just hit the inciting incident.

I also got some good news today regarding a children’s story I wrote, which is going to be published in an online magazine later this month. I think that’s given me some extra writing motivation.