Well, Day 1 went pretty well. I got my daily word count in for my NaNoWriMo project and did about three thousand other words of writing. By the time I’m done with this post and whatever else I do before bed, I’ll probably have done about six thousand words today. Which isn’t as much as I’d have liked since that’s a whole day of writing and only 50% more writing than I need to do during my average day if I wind up closer to my maximum word count than my minimum one. Which is going to be my daily goal because I’d hate to get to the end of the month at ninety-five thousand words only to have fallen short of actually finishing the romance novel or updating my blog every day. Plus, it’s usually better to front-load so long as you’re not pushing yourself past the point of sustainability.
To be entirely fair to myself, I didn’t start writing right away. My whole morning was off because I had to deal with the maintenance guy coming to fix the broken garage door motor, feeling loopy and slightly disassociated from tiredness because I slept like crap and stayed up until past three in the morning, and I then had to leave to meet my friend for lunch right away so I didn’t get ANYTHING written until after 4pm. Because I also had to spend some time playing video games with a friend (oh no, poor me) since I’d promised to join him and, honestly, I need to not spend all of my time working on stuff. I did that for a month and a half just recently. I was so burned out that I needed three full days of rest and gaming to recover at all. So I got a lot done yesterday, all things considered. Even if I didn’t make it to bed right when I wanted to last night, I still did better than I expected in total words and in boxes filled-in on my to-do list.
I did outlines for both projects, but I had to do them by story beats rather than chapters because I’m not as firm on my National Novel Writing Month story or the romance novel story as I was on Coldheart and Iron (the story I did my first chapter-by-chapter outline for). I wish I was, but Coldheart and Iron started as a dream and I rarely get to see an entire story unfold like that before I write it down. Even with all that, it changed significantly as I went, with half again as many chapters added in as I went and a lot of shifts to the events of the story to make it fit with how I was writing it. “What You Know You Need,” which is what I’m calling my NaNoWriMo project, is still evolving and solidifying. I know most of the major points of the story and have some ideas about what I’d like to be in there, but nothing is certain yet. I have never written a romance story, so “Spicing Things Up” is still a giant mess of nothing but story beats as well. I mean, I barely even read romance novels so I fully expect this to be a travesty that changes as I write it and read actual romance novels for reference. Neither one of my stories can afford to be pinned down right now.
Finishing up the outlines (well, turning them into outlines instead of plot summaries) was one of my big tasks for yesterday, along with writing as many of the Inspiration posts ahead of time as I could. I’ve got two weeks of them finished and all of the writing prompts already done, so now I’m trying to get the rest finished and start in on daily progress on my novel projects. I also need to think about this month’s four Coldheart and Iron posts since I want to keep those up as well so I can finish it by Christmas Day. Which means I still have plenty to do with my weekends and days off. Today is my last planned day off, so I’m going to do my best to make the most of it. Maybe I can knock out my daily novel projects early and then pump out two big Coldheart and Iron posts. That’d be nearly ten thousand words for the day right there. I’d at least like to get one done. Hopefully two since I’m going to be incredibly busy next weekend. I’ve still got this weekend free, so who knows what all I can get done. Maybe I’ll get all four Coldheart and Iron posts done, get the Tips pre-written as well, and even get a few days ahead in my novel projects.
It’s nice to imagine. I’ll be happy just getting my daily allotment in so long as I can also get some work down on the Coldheart and Iron post. I’m going to be really busy most evenings for the next month.
Today, think about where your story is happening. Develop a setting. Set a scene. Write a little about the world it takes place in–how it differs or is similar to our world. Maybe just set the stage rather than set a scene. You can always add more detail later or change how “present” the world is, but you the writer need to know a lot about the world that will inform the characters’ actions. These thoughts, this knowledge, doesn’t need to be anything other than notes to yourself that you’ll pull out when you edit it so you can focus on what’s important to your story, but it’ll make your job a lot easier if you write this stuff down somewhere so it doesn’t need to constantly tumble around in your head. Free up some space and just jot it down in the margins.
One of the best books I’ve read this year, if not the best, is “An Absolutely Remarkable Thing” by Hank Green. If you have not read it, you should read it. It appealed to me on a lot of levels and it was one of the first good books I’ve read of what I believe is an emerging genre (which I am also trying to write in for my project this month) of 20-something literature. I see it like a sort of second coming-of-age that is more focused on learning to live in the world we have rather than the world we were promised instead of simply accepting responsibility for oneself or being “an adult.” Beyond that, it also made me feel like a part of something larger than myself as someone who uses the internet. It had a positive effect in that it has reminded me that we can do good and that Human connection is still a goal for the internet.
Yesterday, you started writing. Or maybe you’re playing catch up today since you were too busy yesterday. Whatever you’re doing, however much you’ve done, remember to cut yourself some slack. No one has ever sat down to start a project and magically produced 40,000 actual words of a story in a single day. You could do that if you copy and pasted a bunch of words, but that’s not even close to the same thing. People like me take years to get to the point where we can sit down for forty-five minutes and write our daily allotment of words. I literally practiced writing every day for a year to get to this point, and that’s not counting all of the words I wrote in my life leading up to the start of that challenge. I have spent literally half my lifetime working on this. So, seriously, cut yourself some slack. Don’t measure your accomplishments against other people, especially not people like me. Measure it against the person you want to be and the person you were before you started this challenge. As long as you’re making progress, then you’re doing a great job! Keep it up! I never would have dreamt of doing something like this when I was starting out. Believe in yourself and take things at your own pace. As long as you work on it every day, you will get there. Persistence is key.