My word count is high.
Higher than it’s ever been before. In fact, I think the last time it approached these heights was when I was 14 and my maximum speed was 75% of what it is now. I’m 17 now, but it’s not as if I have more free time than I did then. Though, at 17, I can stay up till 2am if I like, instead of going to bed at 10pm. Or I can wake up earlier. The upside about being in a different hotel room than your parents. 🙂
Yes, it amazes me too. It took me 30 days to hit 100k when I was 14, in 2009, and since then, I haven’t gotten past 70k in a NaNo event. (The novels, of course, were longer).
So what’s different now? I think it’s a combination of things:
- Pantsing. The stories are solid in my head, but that makes them flexible. Eloise from Settling the Accounts took 40k to realize she was going to poison her husband. I’m at 70k now and their in-laws are moving in. Detailed planning doesn’t work for me. It’s taken me five years to notice, but now I’m putting it in practice. Finally.
- Time. It takes about 4-8 hours a day to hit the word counts I set for myself (about 10,000 words a day). Give yourself time. Turn off the internet, or war with friends. Do the NaNoWordSprints on twitter.
- Few expectations. My first year the idea was to hit 50k, hopefully before the end of November. The second it was to hit 100k (I got both of these). The third it was to write an entire series. I didn’t even finish the first book. The fourth year I wanted to aim for 300k in one novel. (I know what you’re thinking… “wut???”) I failed categorically. Didn’t get past 60k in November.In Camp NaNos I aim for a finished novel of about 60k. And I hit it every time. So the goal this year was: Write novels, 50k or more each. Write every day of November. That’s it. I’m on track to write 300,000 words this year, but that’s not because I’m aiming for it.
- Faster typing. I’m doing these one minute bursts to try and hit 100 wpm. I get about 80-90, and there are typos, but it definitely helps.
- Wars. Two hour wars? Super. Getting words you’ve never gotten before, and able to say that you did it in two hours? Fantastic.
- Writing every day. Here’s a secret: It gets easier to write enormous amounts of words if you do it regularly. Especially once you get past the first block of the day. (For me that’s at about 5k. They wreak havoc on my brain, those first 5,000 words. After that it gets easier for some reason.)
- Wrist exercises. Wrist pain is no fun. I have a timer on my laptop that forces me to mostly pause writing and work through exercises for two minutes. I should turn the opacity up on it so I can’t see what I’m writing, though. That would be good; I tend to cheat on it and keep writing regardless.
Um, what else?
I guess… I’m not stressing about this NaNo like I usually do? It’s ridiculous, considering that on five days of NaNo I’ve written above and beyond 10,000 words a day (hitting 30k and 24k on two of those days, and 20k today). I’d expect me to stress about it, but… I’m not.
So, lessons to take away.
- Don’t stress it. The words will come. If you’re behind, focus on the next ten minute sprint. Or do 1-minute sprints to up your word count quickly. Aim for 5 words more each time you do it (So if I wrote 90 words, I’d aim for 95)
- Commit online. Go on FB or Twitter and state that you will write for the next 30 minutes and you will wriete 1000 words that were not there before (adjust for your own word count, but make sure to push yourself. If you write 500 words an hour, aim for 300 in that half hour).
- And, I cannot stress this enough, TURN OFF THE INTERNET! If you war online, turn off all websites that do not correspond to that warring center. If you’re on Twitter for word sprints… turn off the net during the sprints. Turn it back on when you finish the minutes.
Please don’t feel discouraged by the enormous number stated at the beginning of this post. remember that NaNo is a self-challenge, and remember how crazy I’ll be by the end of these 30 days of nutsiness, alright?
And, now you’ve finished this post, go knock out 100 words, alright? (Or if you’re adventurous, make it 1,000)