Wednesday, November 10, 2010

NaNoWriMo - You CAN do do it

Thanks to Cindy for inviting me to join you all here today. It’s a pleasure, particularly as we’re discussing one of my favourite events – NaNoWriMo!

This is my fourth time doing NaNo this year. Every year I have won the challenge. More than that, I have improved my own writing performance. Last year in the month of November, I actually wrote a complete first draft of a single title Romantic Suspense book, writing a total of 93,600 words in 30 days.

I was amazed at how the book went down on paper. I was an all out pantzer with that book with only the characters’ names and occupations and a two sentence blurb in my head as to who and what was going to happen. I’m hoping for a repeat performance this year. I’m writing another RS and hope to finish around 90,000 words again. There are several differences from this year to last year’s though.

First off, this year, I have a slight more understanding of the plot of the book, in that I knew roughly what the first hook and the first major turning point were before I started. True enough, I only figured those out on the day before NaNo, but hey, they were there when I needed them. The other change is actually due to last year’s NaNo experience. After NaNo ended, I worked hard on maintaining a steady stream of writing throughout the year, building up a routine. This year’s NaNo wasn’t a chance to sit down and get a book on paper, it was another opportunity to continue my wicked word counts and do a
little more. See this last year, three to four months in a row, I wrote over 65,000 words EVERY month.

NaNo helped me to build up to and establish a pace of writing that was comfortable for me – and way beyond what I’d been doing before. It helped me to create a writing routine, a positive mindset, and made it possible to write on days that I wouldn’t have considered making the attempt previously.

Writing is a daily event during the month of November – not just Monday to Friday, but every day. Sure there are the odd days that life blows up, or the powder snow on the mountain is just too inviting to ignore and I put down my writing to go and live life. But even then, I will often write when I get home, or after the kids go to bed and I can relax.

That’s another difference now with my writing after years of NaNo. I write any time and any place. I don’t have to have peace and quiet. I no longer need an office or even a desk that’s mine. I often sit in the living room with my laptop, a movie on for one child, another doing homework beside me in case he needs help, and the other two could be with us or off in their rooms. I don’t race at the beginning of the month and run out of steam. I work on a slow and steady basis. 3,000 words a day is my goal. If I get it great, if I don’t, I try to make it up on a day when I can. I’m quite capable of writing 6,000 to 7,000 words a day for a full week if need be – but I’m usually worn out when I’m done. I work full time, I’m a single mom of four, but my writing is important to me, so it’s up there in my priorities.

All of that can’t be credited to NaNo, true, but much of it can in that it was one more step in my journey to becoming a productive writer. Learning, establishing and then following good writing habits is something anyone can be taught – even you! And Nano is a great teacher.

Cindy here – I want to thank Dale for being our guest today. She’s one of the people who inspired me to do NaNo this year. She did so well last year with a ton of stuff going on in her life. I don’t have kids, or pets. I have a boyfriend and a day job. There’s no reason why I shouldn’t be able to win NaNo.

Dale made it to the next round of the Brava Writing With the Stars contest. Please take a minute to go over, read the entries, and vote for the one you like best. I voted for Dale!

Happy writing everyone!



Cindy Carroll said...

Dale, thanks so much for blogging with us today! Your last year's total inspired me. My goal this year is at least 2,000 words a day. So far with the exception of one day where I only did the bare minum (1678) I've been able to do it.

Dale Mayer said...

Hi Cindy! Thanks for having me here. I've been following your progress and you are doing awesome! 2,000 words a day is so very doable and a mark that many well-published authors work toward on a regular basis.

It's also important to cut yourself some slack (like I'm one to talk) if a day doesn't go as planned and you can't quite make the word count. You can always make it up later in the week.

I can see everyone's progress from the sidebars. That's a terrific way to stay motivated. It also helps to know you're not alone in this mad quest.

Keep up the good work!


Martie said...

I met Dale last year when she was racing past the finish line at Nano. It was my second Nano, but my first win. It's one of those great tools to help you develop a habit of BICFOK. They'd have to have a 100k for Dale not to win, ;)

Dale Mayer said...

Hi Martie, thanks so much for stopping by. You've done so much since last Nano you should be proud. You're also well on your way to beating this year's Nano too! Good for you and for everyone trying!


litchick89 said...

I'm planning to use NaNo as a tool to get me into the habit of writing every day, and I'm glad to hear that someone has already blazed that trail! I tried to do the same thing last year (to finish my novel, which was nowhere near complete at 50 000 words) but convinced myself that I deserved a break after NaNo, and then the holidays came...but I'm determined to keep it up this year!

Dale Mayer said...

Nano requires discipline and consistency and after 30 days of applying yourself to any habit, you have created enough foundation to carry on. You can do this. I do and so do many other people. I can't tell you how many months in this last year that I wrote over 50,000 every month.

Taking a break after NaNo isn't a bad idea - but not picking up afterwards is. Give yourself a week or two or if you have to - until after Christmas. Then make it a new start for the new year!

Thanks for stopping by and commenting!