Days 7 and 8 are in the bag. I’ve got just enough time and energy left to write my update.
No updates for days 5 and 6, sorry. Day 5 was okay, but day 6 was a zero word day. Number of reasons, family stuff got in the way (it was my son’s birthday), then i went to a friends house to watch some NFL. Before you know it, it’s 11 o’clock, and all is not well. I had a bit of flexibility thanks a good opening couple of days, but that was all but wiped out with a zero word day 6. Disaster.
The good news, is, as you can see above, I gained a lot back on day 7 then some more today, so I have a bit of a buffer again.
As I mentioned earlier, I’m not doing a novel as such. I’m aiming to write a collection of short stories, and 50k words is a great start. Today I finished the 2nd story. It’s got no title yet, but I’m calling it ‘The Jungle Book.’ There are no friendly bears or talking snakes, but there is a jungle. I’ll start story number 3 tomorrow (or today, depending on when I post this!).
What have I learned?
- Get as far ahead of the daily word count as you can – On day one, perhaps it was excitement, perhaps it was just one of those days, but I felt in the zone. I was able to write double my average word count for the day, which provided me with the opportunity to miss a day and not fall behind. Aiming to get to the word count and treating it like the finish line for that day is not a great way to look at it. Sure, some days you will drag yourself over that finishing line and just scrape through with your total for that day, but on those other days…smash it.
- Writing in bursts can be helpful – Day 7 was particularly difficult as I was finding it hard to concentrate, and even harder to type, as my fingers seemed to have a mind of their own (There’s a story in that somewhere). I kept catching the TAB key, moving all my text across the screen. with my right hand, I kept catching my Mac’s trackpad. Words were being positioned all over the screen! I gave up and did something else for a while. I think I played something with my son. When I came back to it later, I found that for about 10 or 15 minutes, I was fine, then i’d have the same problem. coming back to it in 10 minute chunks pushed me way over the target for the day.
- Not to become discouraged – Having a zero word day this early on was a bit worrying. I thought i might begin to flag later on, but day 6?? But one I sat down the following day, I just readjusted my goals for the day and went to work on them. I figured that trying to gain back 1600 words in a day is probably unrealistic for me, but gaining 300 a day may be feasible, so that’s my goal until the extra is made back up: 1800 – 19000 words per day will make me back what I lost.
As you can see from the above, I had some difficulties with typing on day 7. I just could’t keep my non-typing fingers out of the way and it started to become very frustrating. I’m thinking I could cellotape my ‘spare’ fingers to my palm, or attach some chopsticks somehow to keep them out of the way. It could work.
Over the last few days, I have been struggling with word finding. Not with meanings of words, but of the actual word itself. For example, I might want someone to pass me a pencil, but the word ‘pencil’ doesn’t want to come to mind. That makes it awkward as a writer, but I just put a bunch of XXXXX’s as a placeholder, and hope the word comes to me later!
Have you been trying NaNoWriMo this year? What are your challenges and how have you overcome them?