Flashback to NaNoWriMo 2018! This year, I’m doing a series of short stories. The first week went great. The second week was a struggle. I’m only just keeping pace with my wordcount though. We’ll see how this week goes.
Finding Your Own Pace: A Writer’s Struggle
Pick Your Pace
As I’ve talked about before, I’m not a sprinter, I’m a marathoner, but 1,666 words is usually achievable for me. With the right story? I can hit an average of 2,500 words per day.
I can only do it by writing EVERY DAY. If I wait until the weekend to sprint? I’m doomed.
If you’ve never NaNo-ed before (look, I verbed it!), it can seem daunting. And it feels like there are just people who can commit and do it, and people who can’t.
But just because I’ve “won” NaNoWriMo once (by hitting that 50k target before midnight on November 30th), doesn’t mean I always win.
My Past NaNoWriMo’s
When my life is settled, I commit and focus — that’s what it takes for me to win NaNoWriMo.
This year? I’ve got a very rough outline that I need to revamp for the age range I’m writing for.
My story involves school-aged kids dealing with parents. So, that means middle grade or younger. YA typically are coming-of-age stories, where they have adventures without adults.
In prep, I’ve already created a list of about 50 names that fit my world, so I can grab and go. Left to my own devices, picking a name for a character can take longer than my daily allotment of time for writing.
But, placeholder names don’t really work for me. Remember that nano-and-a-half I mentioned? It’s filled with 30 place-holder names and is sitting as a rough draft on my googleDrive. (No offense, but Alice, Bob, Carol, and the invaders from Canadia don’t actually fit my fantasy world’s aesthetic.) I’ve gotta admit, it feels pretty daunting to fix.
I’ve got a few obstacles:
- I’ve never written for this age range
- so I’m not familiar with writing at this pacing.
- I’ve never written a story in this world
- so I’ll be having to think through the intricacies of the world as I go.
- Plus, I’ve got a day-job deadline coming up.
- It might end up being a chapter book
- Those are typically around 20,000 words.
- If that’s the case, what do I do?
- write 2 novels? Start a series?
- or call it a day
So now? The only way for me to find out what happens to those cool characters I’ve got half-formed in my head though? Is to write it!
I get sucked into black holes of name sites, too. And I can’t use placeholders, either. Glad to see I’m not the only one.
Wishing you luck, Morgan.
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Especially in this month, too many writers get discouraged and lose heart. Some are natural born sprinters, e.g. Donald Westlake. Other writers are marathoners, e.g. George R.R. Martin. I can’t write as fast as the late-great Master Westlake and I can’t write as intricately as Master Martin–and that’s okay. My race is mine, not theirs and I have to run it at my own pace.
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I support nanowrimo participants who aim for 5K.
I appreciate the insight! I am planning on participating next year. It took me about 3 months to write my first 40,000 words. I am committed to 500 per day so far.
That’s a pretty steady, but usually manageable pace!