We’re halfway through National Novel Writing Month and I’m going strong despite the cold my husband so kindly passed on to me. There are two types of colds, in my experience. The ones that lay you out on the couch for days wishing the world would just go ahead and end. And the kind that are mostly an annoyance. Thankfully, I have the latter type of cold so far (touches wood). So here’s how I’m doing.
- Words written so far (not counting today): 35,657
- Average words written per day: 2,228
- Days remaining: 15
- At this rate, I will finish on: November 22
- Words per day needed to finish on time: 95
In sum, I’m ahead of pace. It helped that I cheated. Kind of. The pep talk on Day 6 was from Patrick Rothfuss, author of The Name of the Wind, the first in a very nicely written fantasy series. In his pep talk, he encouraged NaNoWriMo-ers to break the rules. You don’t have to start from scratch, he said, which is a rule I’d already broken. I started out the month to finish the mainstream adult novel I’ve been working on. It was going, but it wasn’t any fun. In my interview with Ellen Airgood from earlier this week, she talked about how freeing it had been to follow the voice of her character and go with it. That’s how I want to write, I thought. Not this painful, mid-manuscript drudgery of, now what happens?
I’d been thinking about a little fun thing I started a while back. Pure genre fiction. What if I switched to that? Follow your enthusiasm, Patrick Rothfuss said, so I did. I switched. And I haven’t looked back since.
I’ll confess that before NaNoWriMo, it was usually my goal to write 2,000 words a day on whatever manuscript I was working on. I didn’t always make that goal, but I’d estimate I did it four days out of the week, which is nothing to sneeze at. The nice thing I find about participating in NaNoWriMo is that there’s some accountability. Someone will see if I don’t get my 2,000 words for the day, even if it’s just one of my two writing buddies. I guess more importantly, I’ll know. I’ll look at my stats page and the encouraging little bar will be flat instead of ever climbing.
As Rainbow Rowell (I love her) said in her pep talk, when you do a month of intensive writing like NaNoWriMo, you’re forced to take up residence full-time inside your story. Day after day, you come back. You sit down at the metaphorical coffee table with your characters and say, “Hey. How was your day?” And they tell you, which is the amazing part.
Yesterday was my first full day with full-on cold symptoms. No more of that, maybe I’m getting a cold. Maybe not. I was cranky and tired and thinking that this was a perfect excuse not to write. I sat down and turned on my computer. Read a little bit of what I’d written the day before (another NaNoWriMo rule I might be breaking). And I smiled. Ah, yes, this is where I left my characters last time. Where will we go now and what fun will we have? It felt almost exactly like sitting down at my favorite spot in our local coffee shop, only it was inside the book!
For me, that’s the best part of NaNoWriMo so far. Making the world inside my novel familiar. Pleasant. Homey, so to speak. A place I want to go back to over and over again, because I will.
Happy half-way point!