Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Counting Progress

NaNoWriMo can be used to create a good habit - writing every day - but it can also create some bad habits.  Namely, what you consider to be progress, and how you judge yourself.

I'm struggling with this right now.  I've had to take a break in writing to work on some research, and it feels like getting nothing done.  NaNoWriMo teaches you to only count actual words written as progress, and researching means no writing is getting done.

But research is still important, and I didn't want to waste time writing a few very specific scenes without doing some research first.  I also didn't want to keep going with the rest of the novel - which NaNoWriMo encourages, in order to prioritize the writing of words - and have to come back and research and write these scenes later, when I'm not in the flow of the story any longer.  (I'm a fairly linear writer, and typically write in order of how I envision things happening in the book.  This is different from writing in order of how things happen, because, for instance, I write flashbacks when the flashback happens in the story, rather than when it happened before the story took place.)

So I don't have much progress showing on my graph for a few days, but that's okay, because I was working on my novel during that period.

I've also been allowing myself breaks on the weekend, but that's a subject for another post.

Friday, December 1, 2023

My Writing Life Post-NaNo

NaNoWriMo is over!  I got all of the badges except for the one for writing par (1,667 words every day), but that's okay with me.  My own success was much more notable than that: I never once fell below the daily par, and I worked on it every single day, not even missing Thanksgiving.  Those are both accomplishments that I've never managed before, and I've been doing NaNoWriMo since 2006.

My final word count for the month was 51,767, after I wrote 1,500 words at our "final push" write-in last night.  Of course, that includes 36 hours of revision work, which took up the majority of the month, but it was necessary to pick my story back up where I left off.

Today I added back in all of the previous words I'd written and disregarded during NaNoWriMo.  The revised part I wrote last year, plus the new part of the story written this year add up to a surprising 72,030 words.  I didn't realize the novel had gotten so long!  This is especially concerning since I feel like I'm only about halfway through the story.  There are section in the part I've already written that could be cut if the word count gets to be too long, but first I want to finish it and see what the final length is like.

I created a new goal for the month of December, with the hopes of finishing the novel by the end of the year.  I set the goal for 100,000, despite some internal debate about increasing that to 120,000.  I ultimately decided that I'd rather set the goal for 100,000 and overshoot it, than to set it for 120,000 and fall short.  I think the final word count will probably be closer to 120,000, but I'm considering that the upper end of the range instead of a goal.

Ostensibly, my goal will be to write at least 1,000 words a day, with hopefully more than that on "good" days.  Hopefully that will get me through the end of the novel by the end of the year, and early next year I can work on revising.


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