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Nov 24

Mischa Eliot

Thoughts on NaNoWriMo

I try participating in NaNoWriMo to the best of my ability, however I tend to have some issues. First, I write short stories and blog posts. I’m trying to write a novel, but right now it’s just a bunch of random scenes as I get to know the characters and how they interact with each other in Scrivener. I know the idea behind the story and the goal of the end. I think if I get enough information about who the characters are, I can write the story. It just takes time.

But again, I write short. I thought about splitting the 50,000 words into 5 – 7 short stories that would be published together after editing and revising. Technically, it wouldn’t be a novel, but it would be 50,000 words, give or take.

Another issue I have is I will get annoyed or blocked with some characters and switch to another story. At this time I have 5 stories in the works. Some days I’ll even work in two or three of those stories. It works for me. If I’m not sure what I need to complete in a scene, then I will read over another story to see what I can add there.

Also, there’s the jumping around I do. There are times I will write from beginning to end, starting with barebones skeletons, which get muscles, organs, veins, meat, and flesh it out over the various editing and revisions. Then there are the times that I don’t know which direction I’m going (which Scrivener helps a lot with) and I’ll write a scene about this character, then a scene about these two characters, I’ll write up a bunch of scenes and see where they take me.

I currently have two short stories with over 15,000 words, another with almost 7,000 words, then another has just over 28,000 words, and another with just under 5,000 words… do you see where I’m getting at here? I’m writing, it just happens to be that I focus on multiple stories instead of just one. Participating in NaNoWriMo and trying to focus on only one project for an entire month is hard for me. Especially when you find out someone wrote 50,000 words in the first 24 hours.

Now, if you do the math on that, without sleep and breaks that’s a little under 2,100 words an hour. The daily word count for NaNoWriMo is 1,667. However, if you subtract 8 hours for sleep, 1 hour for shower and bathroom breaks, maybe 2 hours for cooking and eating, then 1 more hour for running errands or doing some form of chores, you end up with 12 hours of writing time and 69 words per minute. That equals to 4,140 words per hour. In 12 hours you’d have just under 50,000 words. Now let me tell you, when I type from thought without interruption or distraction, I type pretty fast. (I thank all those years in AOL Chatrooms for my speed.) However, I think the most I have ever written, and since my lunch breaks are 30 minutes, minus the one minute to walk to the time clock, is just over 1,000 words in 29 minutes, which had I been able to continue would have been just over 2,000 words in an hour.

So, yes, I’m feeling a little like I’ve underperformed. However, I don’t know what this person does for a living, if they have a day job or if their day job is being a writer, therefore they have all the writing time they want or need. I work 8 hours a day, I cook dinner, wash dishes, do my own laundry, etc. Perhaps they have someone who is kind and loving enough to do these things for them when they are writing.

I also hope that this writing they did had some form of extensive outline because by day 4 they were at 75,000 and day 5, 100,000 words and still counting.

I know I shouldn’t compare how much I write to others, but sometimes it’s kind of hard not to do just that. So, here’s a tip to each and every one of you authors out there, published or unpublished, of any form of writing that’s been created and to be created: You do what you need to do for you and don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Remember, put quality into your work and you’ll go far. 

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