Just over two weeks into Camp NaNo WriMo, I thought I would give you all a State of the Union update.
I am not quite on target to reach 50k yet this month – I should be on around 25k by now, but I only passed 21k yesterday. I’m not worried about this. There have only been a couple of days so far where I haven’t been able to write at all – the day of my graduation from my MA, and last Monday when I wallpapered the stairway instead. There have been a couple of days where I’ve written, but been well below the target word count. But I have been writing. The week before NaNo, I had just started writing regularly again, and it was tiny bits. I have now regularly been writing 1500+ words a day, my weekly word count is through the roof.
There are a few things which I think have been helping me stay motivated with this, and stay disciplined. First, I’m recording my word count in several places. I’m updating my word count on the Camp NaNo Website, but also I’m writing it down daily in my new diary. I hate having to cross through a day I didn’t write, so that is psychologically pushing me to write every day. On top of this, whenever I finish a chapter I update the chapter word count on my planning spreadsheet. This has my overall goal word count – 80,000 words – how many words I have written so far, and how many I have left to go. All of these different places make it feel quite exciting to have a word count up – seeing the graph on the Camp NaNo website, seeing my weekly total whenever I open my diary, and seeing the numbers to my goal tick down every time I finish a chapter.
Another thing which helps, although is technically against the spirit of NaNo, is that I already had a word count before I started the event. I was on about 18k before the 1st July, but it had taken me ages to get to that point. Being now close to 40k makes me feel like yes, all this stress and graft is worth it. The first few days of NaNo are always the hardest, because if feels like so much work for so little return. But after scraping for so long to get to 18k, suddenly the work I am putting in is having massive, noticeable effects on my word count. It’s a great morale boost, and that makes me want to keep writing and pushing. It also helps that because I had already started my project I had got the introduction bits out of the way first, the slow awkward bits when you’re beginning a piece which are difficult and painful to write. Those were done, and instead NaNo started as I was getting into the flow and crux of the plot. That makes things feel pacier too – less exposition, more excitement.
In more general terms, I think I am a different person from the last time I seriously attempted a NaNo project. My personal discipline really leveled up whilst I did my MA, and completing a number of longer stories has really helped me to both plan and keep writing even when I’m not feeling it. I know what it feels like to finish something now, and it feels amazing. I want to have that feeling for something original, something which is completely mine. I’ve learned how to pace myself, but keep trucking. I’m going to do it.
Possibly it also helps that July is generally a less busy month for me. November has a number of family birthdays, including my own, so I am often pre-booked for social events, whilst the days seem so much shorter. The longer hours of light and having fewer birthdays at this time of year really gives my productivity and massive boost. Summer isn’t usually my favourite time of year – I struggle with the heat, and generally feel uncomfortable and sluggish most of the time. But it seems like it is quite good for writing!
How are you all doing with your writing? Is this Camp NaNo a good one for you? Or are you just trucking on with your writing on your own schedule?