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!

Fiction Blog, Writing Updates

NaNoWriMo Update: Day 23 Recap

Today’s Word Count2,342

Total Word Count: 58,616

Estimated Writing Time: 1.5 hours

Feeling: Anxious and excited. I can feel the end of my manuscript coming, and I am both nervous and thrilled to get there.

Motivation: Proving to myself that social obligations will not totally derail my writing.

Inspiration: The new support I’m finding in the Twitter community. If you guys are reading this, you’re great!

Biggest Triumph: My protagonist had two very important conversations today that A) progressed toward my plot’s conclusion, B) added that last bit of important character development (for her and the minor characters), and C) hopefully made my readers like one of the characters enough to be happy to see her reemerge in later books.

Biggest Setback: I had my first (of two) family Thanksgiving dinners today, so that wiped out most of my morning and all of my afternoon. However, I wanted to show myself that I can be social AND still fit in time for writing, and I am happy to say that I did both today.

Helpful Insights: I am not sure if this is true for everyone, but as my plot draws to a close, I feel like I am losing some control of the pacing. It’s like I am at the top of that first roller coaster hill, and the train has given that final click, and I will plummet down to the end at any moment. If this sensation has struck you, as well, my best advice is as follows.

Just hang on and enjoy the ride. Allow yourself to get your plot resolved and your manuscript finished. For the first draft, it does not matter if your book wraps up too quickly or too slowly. You can edit later and perfect the pacing. Right now, you need to grab on and ride it out. It’s too late to take the chicken exit, and if you jump off now, you’re dead (or to tone down the metaphor, your book is). So just stick through it, trust your instincts, and revise later. You got this!

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 22 Recap

Today’s Word Count1,483

Total Word Count: 56,274

Estimated Writing Time: Just under 1 hour

Feeling: Quite sad. I had to put my protagonist through a rough interrogation scene tonight.

Motivation: To at least get something on the page.

Inspiration: The continued support of the WordPress writing community.

Biggest Triumph: For whatever reason, I simply DID NOT feel like writing today. However, right before bed, I made myself sit down and write for one hour. I did not hit the suggested NaNoWriMo word count (not that this really matters now), but I wrote one complete (and very important) scene. Writing anything was a success today!

Biggest Setback: As described in my triumph, I simply did not feel like writing. I felt like relaxing and brushing off the work week instead. Therefore, I took most of the day to read, exercise, grocery shop, watch TV, spend time with my husband — essentially do anything but write. Only sheer self-shaming got my butt in the chair tonight.

Helpful Insights: Some days you simply cannot measure your writing success by word count. When you feel one of these days has struck you, find another way to define your success.  Try sitting down for simply one hour and just getting as much as you can on the page. Try writing just one scene, even if it is only a few paragraphs, just to keep yourself writing. Try making your characters have just one meaningful conversation or describing one important setting.

Once NaNoWriMo is gone, word count won’t be the only standard by which you judge your writing life. Your “bad days” during NaNoWriMo are the perfect time to figure out other, less-intimidating, writing goals that you can set for yourself that will actually motivate you. For me, tonight, it was a single hour time block. What might yours be?

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