Statistic for National Novel Writing Month 2017 Week 1 for B. Vienna Jetschko

The First few Days of Writing a “Novel”

I had a rough start with the first week of NaNoWriMo. To begin with I’m actually not working on a novel but try to get all my little projects and many short stories going. So thus my own term NaSHOSTWriMo. ;P

A rebel logo for National Short Story Writing Month opposed to NaNoWriMo

So, the first let down on me writing 50000 words was due to the holiday. I visited my extended family on November 1, because that’s a family tradition and it was a long overdue visit. They haven’t seen much of me during the last year due to the diploma workload and I kind of wanted to catch up with them, they’re family after all. I actually planned to write in the late evening after our return home, but playing with my toddler cousins apparently drained me of all my energy. So zero words for that.

After an empty day 1, it was a rocky start. I don’t know if it was the momentum I lost because of November 1, or because I couldn’t decide on what projects to start with, but it took me some while to get going. And to be honest, I’m not quite sure if I got all of my words legitimately.

So one of the things I did, which helped, was setting up my old way of organizing projects in an Excel file. This helped me determine what short stories I truly want to work on, which projects I plan to add to my Smashwords account next, etc. I also set up some writing assignments to apply for a local university on the list. Their due date is in February, but it would be great if I could finish up a chunk load of their assignments during this November. I also try to increase my letter of application ratio and maybe do some work for the podcast. That’s a big maybe there.

Weekly Writing Goal: Average Daily Word Count: Percentage Done:
4123 of 8k 1031 of 1667 8,25%

The “Plot Problem”

Now, the second thing I did, might be the illegitimate part. To get this across I have to tell you about my way of writing. As I’m coming from a self-taught script writing background, I really love to outline. I have made great progress to first plot out longer stories and then follow along and tweak the story accordingly. So far, I haven’t finished long stories yet, but the first drafts always looked very promising. In the end that doesn’t matter, but my liking to work with an outline and overall guideline does. For this year NaShoStWriMo I want to work on a longer story, which might reach novelette length of about 17500 words. Unfortunately, I came to terms on that rather late in the preparations – namely during day 2 and 3, so I didn’t have an outline prior to November 2017. This might have caused my delay in putting words out.

So I decided, wild child that I am, to included outlines, treatments and character descriptions, which happen to be created during NaShStWriMo, in my word count. This might not be right or something. But my argument is this, as the goal of NaNoWriMo is to put 50000 words into the document/project irrelevant of their use for the actually novel, which might grow out of it, I do much better by outlining my text than mindlessly typing into it. So to save myself a ton of editing and working hours by cutting out passages over passages of unneeded words, I would rather write an outline, count its word and add more useful words into my actual “novel”. This might look weird to others, but I think meta-writing and writing just for writing sake are having the same purpose, to get your novel going, so I will count them equally.

I know it isn’t ideal, and I plan to do it differently next year, but for now I have to deal with the situation at hand and that’s my life-hack solution for it.

For your delight, I already finished my outline for the mayor project, a horror story about a cat, in one day. I just pushed through with it.

Upsides:

  • Although I had a rough start, I managed to increase my word count with every day and by Sunday I nearly hit my personal goal of 2000 words a day.
  • I figured out 15 min Word Sprints work best for me – during one I even managed to write 477 words. O_o
  • Finally prioritized the projects I want to work on – since I’m not writing a novel, this was tough
  • The “By this rate you will finish by XX” section really challenge me positively. I went from finishing in August 2018 to finishing in January 2018.
  • Digged up my Bendis’ Powers “Script Book” with a personal message to “Write everyday” – consider writing outlines for a Comic Series I wanted to do for a couple a years. Per issue it would be 3 A3 Sides, which appears more and more manageable.
  • Came up with a “custom” playlist for my biggest endeavour, a horror story. It contains 3 hours of Haunting Music and a Le Fanu Short Story reading from LibriVox. Yes, I play them at the same time. It really gets me into the mood of the story.

[Picture Powers script book]

Downsides:

  • As you can see I didn’t hit my personal week goal of 8000. 😦
  • I didn’t work on my non-fiction works, which includes letters of applications. This is something I urgently have to fix for next week.
  • Short stories, several projects, are more difficult to add words to than with one big project (novel). Maybe next year I will decide on writing one. Ideally with an already finished outline.
  • Everybody else involved in NaNoWriMo, who already got their word count for the week in or even beyond, really discouraged me. I’m not so much in for the competition. Or maybe all for the competition and hate to lose…

How to improve:

  • Make applications a priority for the week and set a minimum of 1 to 2 application a day.
  • I will split up my daily word count into 4 pieces to make it more manageable. Tackling 500 words seems to be easier, than tackling 1000, at least for my mind.
  • I will try more 15 min Word Sprints. I also want to try them on the applications – we will see how that will work out. ;P
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