Fiction Blog, Writing Updates

NaNoWriMo Update: Day 28/Week 4 Recap

Can you all believe that there are only two days left of NaNoWriMo 2014? Honestly, I hardly can. November has flown by, and while this has been a wonderful ride, and I can safely say, I am ready to step off the merry-go-round and establish myself in a day-to-day writing routine.

While I may have reached the 50,000 word mark early, I am still deep in the trenches plugging away with the rest of you. I am nearing the end of my manuscript, but this last week has crept by more slowly than any other part of NaNoWriMo. I know it’s been difficult for me, and I am sure it has been tough on you all as well. If you need some tips, check out the insights. If you need to refocus your motivation, check out my previous post. If you simply need to commiserate or get a pep talk, hit me up in the comments. I’m always game for some solidarity.

Okay, two more days. Let’s finish strong, Wrimos!

Today’s Word Count2,553

Week 4 Word Count: 13,462

Total Word Count: 68,253

Estimated Writing Time: 1.5 hours

Feeling: Impatient. I am so ready to join the ranks of those with a finished manuscript!

Motivation: Making up for my last two writing days, which have not been terribly prolific.

Inspiration: Playing Diablo III with my husband, which is, unfortunately, motivating me more to start researching my demon trilogy than write on this novel!

Biggest Triumph: I finished one chapter and wrote another short one today. I have switched to measuring my remaining plot by story beats instead of word count, and I believe I have three medium-length or four short chapters left. I’m practically shaking at the thought of being so close to finished!

Biggest Setback: My husband and I decided to brave the Black Friday crowds today (in case you are wondering, we were uber successful in getting all our wish-list items for great discounts!), but it has left me quite tired. Hopefully a long sleep tonight will have me well-rested to write a lot this weekend.

Helpful Insights: I imagine we are at the point of NaNoWriMo now where some of you may be getting desperate to boost your word counts and do whatever it takes to hit that 50,000 word mark. Well, I hate to be one to play dirty, but these are tough times, right? Here are three ideas to sneakily and incrementally up your word count.

1. Do not use contractions. Spelling out your contractions gives you a bonus word every time!

2. Be poetic. In creative writing workshops, they teach how to write rolling sentences, how to make your sentences expand and breathe, how to turn a mundane action or description into litany. See what I did there? Try it out.

3. Add in dialogue. Writing description may seem like a great way to boost your word count, because each big paragraph can give you 100-300 words. However, sometimes it is difficult to formulate good exposition, and you end up more stumped than prolific. Slamming out a conversation between well-developed characters should be a fast exercise, and you will be surprised how many words you get in exchange for your time.

If you try any of these ideas, let me know how they work for you! If you have others, share them with your fellow writers in the comments section!

Join me on my NaNoWriMo journey on my NaNoWriMo page or follow me on Twitter @KateMColby for more frequent updates!

Fiction Blog, Writing Updates

NaNoWriMo Update: Day 27 Recap

As promised, here is my second update post for the day: this time about my Thanksgiving writing day! Enjoy and share your turkey day (or regular Thursday for the non-Americans) experiences below!

Today’s Word Count1,848

Total Word Count: 65,700

Estimated Writing Time: 45 minutes

Feeling: Exhilarated

Motivation: Putting in a better word count than yesterday and proving that I can find time to write on Thanksgiving.

Inspiration: Today, my grandma asked me about graduate school, which I have decided not to apply to in favor of A) making a full-time income while Daniel takes his turn in graduate school and B) writing and publishing my work on my own terms (in which case I won’t need an MFA if I am successful). However, she did not even want to listen to my alternative plans. She was just irritated that I wasn’t going (even though she understands nothing about the way graduate school works). This made me really upset and brought up a lot of my insecurities about transitioning from academia to “the real world,” BUT it inspired me to get my butt in the chair and keep working on this manuscript.

Biggest Triumph: Simply having the energy left to write after the busy holiday seems like a success to me!

Biggest Setback: Holiday festivities — which isn’t a bad thing by any means, just something that kept me from writing for most of the day.

Helpful Insights: Some people do not and will not ever understand that creativity CAN and IS a profitable job when pursued correctly. If you want a creative and/or entrepreneurial career, do not let others’ doubts bring you down. Stick to your guns and keep working at your dreams. In time, you will show them what you’re made of and they will understand. And if they don’t, that’s their problem, not yours!

Join me on my NaNoWriMo journey on my NaNoWriMo page or follow me on Twitter @KateMColby for more frequent updates!

Fiction Blog, Writing Updates

NaNoWriMo Update: Day 26 Recap

In an effort to preserve the sanctity of the Thanksgiving holiday (which American capitalism is bound and determined to destroy), I decided not to post anything on my blog and keep the day as a day of rest and family (and a little writing, too!). So please enjoy my Day 26 update now, on the sacred holiday of Black Friday. My Day 27 update will go live this afternoon. Enjoy!

Today’s Word Count508

Total Word Count: 63,852

Estimated Writing Time: 20 minutes

Feeling: Like my head will explode at any moment.

Motivation: Taking my own advice and writing something, anything to keep the novel moving.

Inspiration: My husband’s support and reassurances that I do not need to write thousands of words every single day.

Biggest Triumph: Every single one of those 508 words.

Biggest Setback: This day marked my worst migraine to-date. It lasted over 24 hours, without stop, and I could not keep any food or water down until dinner time. Needless to say, I will be making a trip to my doctor in the near future. If these continue to escalate, I will end up in very bad shape.

Helpful Insights: Because my mental facilities are still feeling a bit drained, I’m going to rely on a quotation I stumbled upon on Twitter for the insights today.

You fail only if you stop writing — Ray Bradbury

Well, you heard the man. You want to win NaNoWriMo and/or be a writer? Then keep going! As I write this, there are only four writing days left of NaNoWriMo 2014, and as you read this, there are only three days left! Get to it!

Join me on my NaNoWriMo journey on my NaNoWriMo page or follow me on Twitter @KateMColby for more frequent updates!

Fiction Blog, Writing Updates

NaNoWriMo Update: Day 25 Recap

Today’s Word Count: 2,311

Total Word Count: 63,344

Estimated Writing Time: 1.25 hours

Feeling: Rushed — too much on my plate today.

Motivation: Getting my writing done as quickly as possible so I can indulge in Supernatural.

Inspiration: Scouting for hawks on my commute home.

Biggest Triumph: I finished the chapter I began yesterday and did a complete (albeit very short) one today. Judging by my story beats, I think I am down to about three or four chapters until the end of my manuscript.

Biggest Setback: Today was swamped. I had to do some work on my second job — after putting in eight hours at the office. Needless to say, I am tired and my writing time was limited. Hopefully something I wrote tonight will be salvageable. I think it’s okay. It was mostly exposition and bridge connecting. Easy stuff to make pretty later.

Helpful Insights: I do not remember where I heard this or how scientific it truly is, but I have heard that most tasks will take the amount of time you have for them. For instance, if you have all day to write your 1,667 words, it will take you several hours, because you will find ways to procrastinate or allow yourself to be picky. On the other hand, if you only have one hour to write your 1,667 words, you will figure out a way to cram them all in and live with the result.

Assuming this is true, which it has been in my life to-date, try limiting your writing time. Do everything else on your to-do list and leave writing for last. Then, when you only have an hour or two left for writing, see if you crank out more words than usual. Maybe it will work for you, or maybe the pressure will be too much. You won’t know until you try, and if you’re behind on your word count, it may be just the kick in the pants you need to hurry up and write!

On an unrelated note, I had my best day ever for views yesterday, too. So thank you all so much for your continued support!

Join me on my NaNoWriMo journey on my NaNoWriMo page or follow me on Twitter @KateMColby for more frequent updates!

Fiction Blog, Writing Updates

NaNoWriMo Update: Day 24 Recap

Today’s Word Count2,417

Total Word Count: 61,033

Estimated Writing Time: 1.5 hours

Feeling: A mixture of happy and sad that this story is coming to a close. I imagine it’s a very watered-down version of what it’s like to send your first child to kindergarten.

Motivation: Writing quickly so I could help my mom bake and frost cupcakes.

Inspiration: Passing 60,000 words and knowing I only have about 15,000 to go!

Biggest Triumph: As I begin creating closure for my readers, I am slowly saying a “farewell” (for now) to characters and resolving smaller plot lines. Today, I had a great final scene (again, for this book) with my protagonist and her best friend.

Biggest Setback: I didn’t really have any major setbacks today. However, I did have to split up my writing session around dinner, which is something I do not like to do. I prefer to write in full one to two hour chunks so I can build up momentum and stay focused on the plot.

Helpful Insights: Keep your emotions regarding your novel in check. I have seen a lot of writers out there getting either A) deeply emotionally invested in their novels or B) disowning and detaching from them in disappointment.

Try to stay somewhere in the middle. If you are too emotional, you will be devastated if you don’t reach the NaNoWriMo goal and/or not have the heart to edit when it comes time. On the other hand, if you separate yourself too much from your novel, you won’t enjoy the success you are having, whether it is 50,000 words or a completed manuscript or even just starting your first draft, and/or you won’t care enough to finish.

Don’t get carried away and don’t get discouraged. Just keep doing the work until December 1st — at which point you can jump for joy or smash your computer — whatever you need to do.

Join me on my NaNoWriMo journey on my NaNoWriMo page or follow me on Twitter @KateMColby for more frequent updates!