If you read my blog last week on NaNoWriMo, you already know I’m a newbie to this writing event. I didn’t quite know what to expect when I started. It’s now been one week (technically 8 days when I’m writing this). What have I learned so far? Anything?

Well, I still feel like a newbie. But I think I have learned a few things.

(Side note: If you don’t know what I’m talking about, please feel free to take a quick glance at my previous blog explaining how Nanowrimo a writing contest and not a reference to a miniature rhinoceros, as I first thought).

Now, back to my current experience at NaNoWriMo, let’s look at how I’m doing.

My goals (they were slightly ambitious):

1. Win NaNoWriMo by writing 50,000 words of a new novel by November 30, 2017.

2. In tandem, continue to edit/revise/complete previously started novel (not counting these words/revisions towards NaNoWriMo). We’ll call this book YA Novel Project In Progress. (aka, YANPIP. Because if NaNoWriMo has taught us anything it’s that a really long acronym spoken as an actual word is awesome.) Yay YANPIP!

Because if NaNoWriMo has taught us anything it’s that a really long acronym spoken as an actual word is awesome.

My status

1. Win NaNoWriMo by writing 50,000 words of a new novel by November 30, 2017.

nanowrimo status chart 11-8.png

Status: To date, I’ve written an average 1,840 words per day with a total of 14,720 words, which, according to the handy NaNoWriMo website (see adorable graphs they make), I’m set to complete my goal by the end of November.

2. In tandem, continue to edit/revise/complete previously started novel (not counting these words/revisions towards NaNoWriMo).

Status: To accomplish goal #2 I’ve been nanowrimo’ing during the week and working on YANPIP on the weekends. For my first week, this process worked fine, for the most part. I managed to pull myself away from my NaNoWriMo project to my other project last weekend without too much difficulty. (Note from the graphic above I did not log anything for Saturday and Sunday while I was working on YANPIP.)

I also made pretty good progress on YANPIP in just a weekend. Perhaps it was that I knew I had limited time or maybe it was dumb luck. Either way, I got more done in two days than I had in several weeks.

one week.png

The one drawback was switching back and forth between the two projects. That was not without its complications, including remembering what tense and perspective I was writing in, because, of course, they’re not the same in both projects. (Although they may be by accident by the time this is over.) In addition, I had to try to not confuse my characters and plotlines. So far I’d give myself a B in this department. There were a few times I went down a paragraph tangent and then said, Oh crap, that’s the OTHER book….

NaNoWriMo Advice

For my first week, I’ve also tried to keep in mind advice from seasoned NaNoWriMo participants.

  1. Just write whatever comes into your head.
  2. Don’t stop writing.
  3. Don’t revise.
  4. Your family will become second priority, prepare them early.

Here’s what I experienced regarding these items in my first week. 

writing focus

1. Just write whatever comes into your head.

I tend to think and ponder and then write things down. I certainly have sprints of writing where words flow out of me so fast my fingers can barely keep up. But these are often bookended by long, painful stretches of writing, stopping, revising, stopping again and then deleting entire pages.

Writing whatever comes to my head has led to a more chaotic book. It’s not written in any linear sense. Instead, I’m jumping all around. I have an idea for the end, I write that. I have an idea for a first meeting, I write that. I’m actually really interested to see how it all comes together and if it can come together. It’s kind of an exciting, real-life literary puzzle (at least for me!)

2. Don’t stop writing.

Once I lift those fingers off the keyboard, my mind starts churning and rethinking what I’ve just written. It itches to press the backspace button and re-write it, better (or not). Either way, I want to revise!

But I haven’t been and it’s allowed me to keep moving forward. It’s also allowed me to break through my excessive perfectionist habit. It’s National Novel Writing Month not National Perfect First Draft of Novel Month.

3. Don’t revise.

As you can already guess, this has been very, very hard for me. As much as I love writing, I’ve actually come to love revisions and editing as well and I tend to do them in tandem as part of my writing process.

That said, this exercise of no stopping, no revisions has been good for me. I’ve come to realize it’s like taking a walk to the store. Sometimes I like to stop and look at the trees. Other times I like to sprint right to where I’m going. Both are good at certain points in time.

4. Your family will become second priority, prepare them early.

2011-05-05-BONUS-COMIC-Intervention.jpgI’m pretty sure my family already feels they are second priority to my writing life, so I worried about this one. Could it get worse and I’d be facing a writing intervention come the end of November?

So far, and it’s only been a week, that hasn’t been the case. Turns out, I already write a lot and instead of spending time revising (see #4), I’ve been banging out word after word and sentence after sentence for the same amount of hours I did before NaNoWriMo.

But I know I need to be careful. If I fall behind, I can see myself holed up in my room barking at anyone who interrupts me.

So what have I learned for NaNoWriMo week 1?

I can write many different ways and I don’t have to be a perfectionist with every sentence, at least not in draft one. I think those are some pretty good lessons for a NaNoWriMo newbie!

Happy NaNoWriMo’ing!

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