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My NaNoWriMo Quest

It’s the first day of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and I’m a third of the way through my daily goal (wipes sweaty forehead). By the time I’ve finished this post, I’ll be over halfway and then the hard stuff will begin.

I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with NaNo. I love the idea of writing a book in a month, but I hate the pressure that comes with trying to pump out 1,667 words a day. In my experience pressure does not make diamonds, or even a poorly written first draft. Instead, all I end up with is a heaping mass of frustration and self-flagellation.

It’s an issue and it’s ticking me off.

It’s taken me three novels, seven years and many, many hours of pouring over books with titles like How to Write a Novel in Ten Days2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love and 5,000 Words Per Hour, imagining the day when I too would become a book-writing machine, but I think I’ve figured out the problem. Part of it is, I’m really bad at doing one thing at a time. If you could see my brain, it’d resemble an over-caffeinated magpie on a gallon of red cordial in a forest of mirrors. So many shiny things to investigate.

Like, right now, I’m writing this, watching Man vs Food⁠1 and thinking about what I’m making for dinner tonight.

This year, I’m taking a different tack for NaNo. My NaNoWriMo will be less about the 50k-words and more about developing good writing habits while exploring ways to increase my productivity. Currently, the experiment involves having multiple projects on the go at once, doing a little bit of each every day.

The idea behind the method is to keep my motivation high by having smaller tasks that are easy to accomplish, while also ticking off some of the things stacking up on my to-do list.

My projects for NaNo 2017 are:

  • finishing Regan, the final book in the Hero Rebellion (grab a sneak peek!)
  • writing 30 blog posts, and
  • writing a short story set in the Hero Rebellion universe.

The plan is to revise 2000 words of Regan, write a 500-word blog post and 700-words of the shorty short (or shorty, as I often find myself calling them), every day of November.

I’m tired just thinking about it.

The hardest bit will be the shorty. At the moment, I feel about as creative as cardboard, the really boring brown kind they use for packing boxes. Hopefully, I can kick that feeling and turn the cardboard into a really cool spaceship, or a race track. (That’s a clue BTW. Racetrack. Hero. Think about it.)

Tally for today, I’ve spent three hours on the couch and done my first two tasks. Not bad, but not great either. Will shoot for better tomorrow.

 

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1 Watching TV while writing has to be one of the most inefficient ways to write. I don’t recommend it, but if you can’t help yourself, the Food Channel is awesome.

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