NaNoWriMo Days 2-5: Falling Behind

Goal Word Count: 10,000

Actual Word Count: 5,608

So I am WAY behind.  Turns out, it’s pretty hard for me to focus on writing during the weekends.  I wrote less than 500 words on Saturday.

Some external factors definitely hindered my progress.  Hubby had an old coworker visiting from out of town, so Friday I had four guests in my home while the guys talked about the old days at work.  Add to that my baby going through some rough bouts of teething on Saturday, and I barely got any words written for two days.

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At least he’s cute, right?

In addition to the outside distractions, I’ve just been having some trouble slogging through this first part of my novel.  It’s a lot of setup at this point and I am struggling to just get it on the page.  Also, as I’ve been writing, I’m coming up with new character traits or small incidents.  That’s great, except every time I do that, I have to force myself to keep moving forward and not go back and add in better character setup and foreshadowing.  I need tattoo “IT’S JUST THE FIRST DRAFT!” on my arm so I will stop trying to edit in the middle of my writing sessions.

So Sunday afternoon I was determined to get some work done.  Hubby took the baby into another room for some playtime and I settled into our most comfy chair and got about an hour and a half of work done.

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So cozy.

I managed to get that 5,600 word count during this time.  Currently, it is 11 pm on Sunday night.  After I finish and schedule this update, I do plan on doing another thirty minutes or so of writing to hopefully at least get my count up to 6,000 before I head to bed.

Moving forward I have quite a bit of catching up to do.  I have this little game I often play with myself.  I set goals modeled after the medals at the Olympics.  An example of this I do quite often is when I workout.  I have time limits so I’ll tell myself that by the time the run is over I’ll have earned Gold if I go 2 miles, Silver if I go 1.75 miles, and Bronze if I go 1.5 miles.  This keeps me ridiculously motivated for such a simplistic little device.  I do it to motivate myself to get chores down, see how far under budget I can go while grocery shopping, and even to try to get me and my son ready and out the door faster.

My goals for the next update are the following:

  • Gold: 16,000 words (this will put me totally back on track with my original goals)
  • Silver: 14,000 words
  • Bronze: 12,000 words (that’s about 2,000 words per day)

On Thursday I will let y’all know which medal I earned! So how is everybody else doing?  Falling behind or right on track?  Even if you are going slower than you originally planned like me, remember that progress is progress! Every word brings us closer to finished novels!

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Happy Writing Y’all!

Natalie

NaNoWriMo Day 1

Word Count Goal: 2,000

Current Word Count: 2,244

Whew.  Day one is over!  I must admit, the way my day started, I wasn’t sure I was going to hit my goal!  I learned a lot today, and now I have some strategies for the rest of the month.  So bear with me, but here’s how Day 1 went for me.

I was pretty groggy in the morning since my son is going through this awesome thing called a sleep regression which basically means no rest for me.  But I was determined, so as soon as I got the baby dressed and fed, I fired up the computer and started a new document in my writing folder entitled “Draft One”.

Fast forward to noon and I had a whopping 54 words.  I discovered a ton that morning.  First,  I cannot write while my son is awake.  Baby M is a pretty chill kiddo, but he’s loud.  He’s finding his voice and loves to make noise.  Even though he was enjoying tummy time without me entertaining him, each time I looked away from the screen to see what he was babbling about, I wound up rereading what I’d written when I looked back.  I wrote the opening line to the novel probably ten times during Baby M’s playtime.  That was getting me nowhere.

Second thing I discovered was that I need a decently ordered space to write in.  Yesterday my living room looked like a tornado had gone through it:

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In my defense, the previous night was Halloween so I was busy eating candy instead of cleaning

So after tripping over a picture book on the way to change a diaper, I decided that the house had to be dealt with before I tried to seriously focus on writing.  So Baby M watched Dora in his chair (yeah, I know, screens are evil, but sometimes you gotta do laundry) while I did about an hour’s worth of cleaning.

Then he went down for a nap and I spent about fifteen more minutes working to get my space to look like this:

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Yep.  That’s a big bowl of Halloween candy.  Don’t judge me. 

Much better. So I finally settled in to do some writing.  And about three hundred words later, Baby M started serenading me to let me know it was time for food.  After that, more day to day realities like oil changes, grocery shopping, and a long day at work for my husband (meaning I handled dinner, bath, and bed for Baby M by myself) consumed the rest of my day.  Suddenly it was 10 pm and all I had was around 400 words.

This was pretty much worse case scenario for my very first day! So I buckled down and worked solidly for about an hour and half, only taking a break when Baby M decided that he needed more milk if he was gonna sleep through the night.  But when finally I finished up the last scene I was working on I had over 2,000 words total.  Whew.

So all that lengthy explanation to say: this is going to be difficult.  Although it was fairly stressful, I am glad I had a rough first day.  Because now moving forward I have the following strategies in place:

  1. In the morning while Baby M is the happiest, get my housework and errands done.  He will usually do tummy time or play in his high chair on his own in the morning, which will allow me to get my home in order so I can focus in the afternoon.
  2. Utilize nap times better.  The baby making noise while I do dishes doesn’t bother me.  It does bother me while writing.  So ALL of nap time will be devoted to writing from here on out and I need to save household tasks for when baby is awake.
  3. Try to get 750-1000 words written before Hubby gets home.  It’s tempting to say “Well, the baby goes to bed at 8 and I go to bed around 12, so that’s four hours of writing time”.  The reality is that I am gonna want to spend time with Hubby after baby goes to bed to discuss our days and watch History Channel.  I really will probably only work 1-2 hours after baby is asleep so I need to get more writing done during the day.

Now, I am still struggling with trying to edit as I write and over thinking word choices and sentence structure.  So I definitely need to remember that this is going to be a very rough first draft and that’s okay.  As I hopefully discover strategies to help overcome that inner editor I will let y’all know.

So where are we in the story?  Well, Berry is moving into the Owens Hotel and discovers that her locked closet door can apparently open on its own.  She also goes to town with her dad and meets a friendly bookstore owner who sells her a book of notes and experiments by Richard Owens (the original owner of the hotel).  Berry also encounters Mia, an eccentric girl who is fascinated by the old hotel.  That’s about as far as 2,000 words gets you.

Moving forward my goal is still 2,000 words a day for the first week.  I’ll try to remember to keep Twitter updated with daily word counts until my next update.

So how is everyone else doing?  Hitting your word count goals? Did you have a rough start too?  Well if you did, no worries! We got this, y’all!

Happy Writing!

Natalie

 

Welcome!

Hello! I am assuming that if you are reading this, chances are good that we either went to school together or you’re related to me (hi Mom!)  If neither of those things apply to you, my name is Natalie and I read a lot and have decided to try my hand at writing.  That’s probably all you really need to know to get started.

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Me before I had a baby and started only ever taking pictures of said baby

I am participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) this year.  You can check out their website here.  Basically, the goal is to write 50,000 words in November.  Now, to be fair, the story I am going to try to tell will probably take me more than 50,000 words, but that is still a decent chunk of writing!

So why NaNoWriMo? I have actually wanted to try writing a novel for a long time now.  My issue with finishing a novel has always been starting one.  I get pretty caught up in outlining and character development and random Google searches until I convince myself that it isn’t a good idea anyway and I never actually get around to writing the darn thing.  So the hope here is that NaNoWriMo 2017 will snap that bad habit out of me and encourage me to get words on paper (or into a word processor).  

Now 50,000 words in 30 days works out to 1,666.666666667 words a day.  That is way too many numbers for me, so I’m going to round that to 1,700 words per day.  For the first week, I am going to attempt to do 2,000 words each day.  This is to give me a buffer for the Thanksgiving holidays and those days when life just gets in the way.

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The next big question is what those 50,000 words are going to be about.  Well, for the last month or so I have been working on the bones of YA urban fantasy about a girl named Berry who discovers that the hotel her parents just bought is filled with ghosts and magical monsters trapped because of 1800’s photography equipment.  I have 2,000 words or so of preliminary notes and world building and a rough outline of the first third of the novel with some vague ideas of an ending.  I am calling it “The Owens Hotel” for now. 

Normally, that idea would be buried in my Google Drive for years before I abandoned the idea as not good enough to write.  But I’m stepping out of my comfort zone (which hasn’t ever gotten me anywhere anyway) and starting the novel without a complete outline. I don’t even have names for all my major characters yet.  It should be an interesting journey.

I will be updating every Monday and Thursday with word counts and project progress.  You can also find  me on the official NaNoWriMo website (username is natalienelsonwriter).  I will try to do daily word counts on the official site as well as on my Twitter page

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If you are a fellow writer and/or blogger, drop your info in the comments! I love the writing community and I’m always on the hunt for new people to read!  Let me know if you are doing also NaNoWriMo!

 

Happy Writing!

Natalie