I’m participating in National Novel Writing Month for the first time. To hit the goal, I need 1667 words a day for 30 days. Right! But I’m in it  for the motivation to write as much as I can every day for a month and finish the draft of my novel in progress. Today I rewrote a scene because it was wrong, losing some words in the process. Tomorrow I’ll interview a SWAT  leader, then rewrite the scene again. Both rewrites will be a setback to my NaNo word count, but they’ll bring me closer to my goal of a finished (and terrific) fourth Detective Jackson novel. That has to be my priority.

Still, I’m giving this event a serious effort. I write first thing every morning from 5:30 am to 8 am on work days and longer on non-work days. I don’t edit/polish anything, and I don’t look anything up online during that time for fear of being distracted. I just put in placeholders with yellow highlight, knowing I’ll get back to it in the second draft. I’ve logged 7779 words in the first five days, and I feel good about it.

I see this as an opportunity to get into a great writing habit for the winter months, which is my most productive novel writing time. It’s too dark and cold and depressing to do much else, so why not crank out a novel or two? Especially since I tend to get bogged down in freelance work in the summer, then want to spend my free time cycling or gardening. In the fall, I often have a new release, followed by Bouchercon, book signings, etc.

So the writing season has begun, and I’m having a blast. How’s NaNo going for you?

  1. First time NaNo for me, too. Like you, I’m in it to shake my up writing habits and push myself through a draft faster. So far, so good, but the pace is hot for me and it’s only Day 6. I’m learning about myself as a writer. The ideas come faster if I give myself permission to write before the ideas are fully formed. When I know I’m writing pure crap I just smile to myself and push ahead. Write crap now, transform it later. My goal is to get an outline for Book 3. I have rough ideas and hope that by the end of the month I’ll know the ending and all the bridges to cross in between. Then I’ll go back and actually write the book. For me this is a 50,000 word outline, really. Good luck, LJ.

  2. My first time at NaNoWriMo too. Like you, I’m putting in placeholders when I don’t know exact description or details or when I need to research. I did store up a bunch of research and notes already, but I’m focusing on getting the words down. Much of mine right now is dialogue — it’s 5 sisters, expect it — and I’ll have to add description when I do revise. Especially since this involves a road trip through real places. For now I’m plunging ahead with narrative, finding out where it takes me and the sisters as we go.
    I’d been planning this boo9k for a while, so I know the ultimate goal I want my characters to reach. Thanks to NaNoWriMo, the journey is the fun part. ** best part is, as I watch those numbers climb, it keeps luring me back to write more. And since I’m not editing, it’s pure creation.

  3. I’m not doing NaNo but I really admire you and the others who are. Your ideas on how you hope to accomplish your writing goals during this month seem like good advice for writing anytime. I’m hope to apply your approach and maybe I’ll be ready for NaNo next year.

  4. Another first-timer here. My highest word-goal in the past has been 1,000 words per day, so this is a stretch for me. I’m also not used to being an every day writer. In the past, I’ve written when I felt like writing, which was pretty often, but this is a new challenge for me. As the behavioral scientists say, if you do something for 21 days in a row, you form a habit. I’m hoping when the month is over, I will be in the habit of writing every day and I can use that as a springboard to a more productive life as a writer. I’m also blogging about the process, and that helps keep me focused on the benefits I’ve deriving, which helps when I’m tired and cranky and don’t feel like writing. 🙂

    I wish all of you the best of luck with your projects!

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