Adjusting for Reality
I know that a lot of you think that I'm able to write in my sleep, or without any effort in order to have the word count I do.
Well, I don't. It takes me about an hour to write a thousand words.
And I knew this going in. (I also knew that I could do this full-time in November this year which is part of why I set my challenge as writing two first drafts of about 100,000 each this month. I do NOT recommend this and hope I never try to write as much again. But I've been told that I say that every year, so no one believes me.)
I thought I'd be able to average 10,000 words a day for a week. I did. But I never made my stretch goal of 15,000 a day the first week, despite basically spending all day, every day writing. And I write more easily at the beginning of the month than at the end of the month, which is why I try to front-load my writing. Also because I like being at the top of Tim's graph--:)
I thought I'd be able to average 8,000 words a day for the next week. That is proving to be difficult. Especially as I wrapped up one novel and had to move on to a whole new one. And went to something other than a write-in for most of Friday.
So, I'm adjusting my expectations and timing to make my goal. And I believe I can do it. If you're curious, my goal is now 7K per day the second week, 6K the third, 5K the fourth. I had hoped to make it 8K per day on average, then 6K, and then 4K, but had to adjust. The first novel, by the way, is 97,751 words, so depending on the length of the second one, I might not need to make 200,000 words. My goal was always to finish the first draft of each novel, not a specific word count.
I'm just getting started with the second novel. So, if you're struggling, you can do it. Just figure out how to make the time to write enough enough each day to make your goal. Use write-ins if they help. (They actually slow me down.) Use jabber chat and word wars if they help. (They also slow me down since I then focus solely on word count and not what the novel needs, which costs me time later as I try to fix things.)
Use music, getting up early, staying up late, hiding in a room, going to a coffee shop, use whatever works.
You might not be at whatever word count you had hoped to be by this point, but you can do it. You can meet your goal even if you have had to adjust for reality.
What adjustments have other people made?
I was feeling a bit down this morning. Yesterday's word wars helped me claw my way back above the minimum wordcount graph line (back in the green!) but my word count gain rate was lower than it had been a week ago. Now, I know I'm not in Katherine's 1000 words per hour class--it takes me longer to write--but last week I was able to hit near that level. What had changed?
The big difference was that, somehow, amazingly, I hadn't stopped to refer back to my plot notes. I hadn't glanced at them for an entire week. And my story had drifted off course. So far off course that I felt I had lost my connection to the story. I even toyed with the idea of doing what Katherine (Squiddish) and Joe (Corrupted Flame) had done and changed stories. I thought about that, about alternate story lines on my way to work this morning.
But at lunchtime today, I went back and revisited my story outline. It's amazing what a map can do. Yes, I had introduced some new characters and events (and skipped some nice scenes) in my drifting; but it wasn't a story-ending mistake. I could still find a way to navigate back to my story track. The story elements I had plotted in October were still very compelling ones. I still had some good scenes to write.
Buoyed by renewed energy, I wrote some at lunch (which I rarely do on weekdays) and am looking forward to writing more tonight.
This is a great thread.
I've done Nano a few times, and this overwhelmed feeling always seems to hit me about halfway through when I realize that it is impossible to spend every waking minute (besides work ...) writing. I always rediscover the fact that the time I spend doing other things isn't wasted because my subconscious is still 'writing' for me, and the words seem to flow faster when I finally find the time to get back to my story.
Like Tim, I've strayed from my plot cards, but I'm glad I did! I think the story I'm getting is better than I planned, but I've kept my ending in sight and have some good stuff coming up. Besides, I have to stick with the ending I have because it ties into Book Two--which is already written in first draft.
My word count, on the other hand, while it looks good now, will probably not go much higher than 70k or so because of my Thanksgiving plans. Sometimes I'm okay with that. I can finish the story in December if I have to! I don't think I'll be alone in this, but it's an adjustment I have to make because, well, I can't spend every waking minute writing.
Jump, and you will find out how to unfold your wings as you fall. ~Ray Bradbury
Like Katherine, I can write about 1,000 words an hour - but I absolutely cannot do it for more than two hours a day. It exhausts me and leaves my brain feeling like rubber. (After the kickoff night write-in where I did manage it for three hours, I felt drunk. It was kinda cool. Haven't been able to do it again.) And if I've been doing other intellectually challenging things that day, like, oh, work, I can't even manage that. So I've stopped expecting myself to pull that 2k a day and gone back down to the minimum word count.
I haven't slipped away from my notes, and I think that's the only thing saving me right now: I know exactly what I have to write next. Unfortunately, my notes were not as detailed as I thought they were, and what I thought was going to be a 3,000-word scene is turning out to be a 10,000-word sub-plot, which I'm kind of feeling my way through blindly. But I have an end point to reach for, which helps beyond the telling.
(I'm positive my story will not be done in 50,000 words, but I'm also determined to have the bones of the story down by the end of November, including the end. So if that means turning one sub-plot into a detailed outline so I can write my way through this one, that's what I'm gonna have to do. Sorry, minor characters.)
I do my best writing when I take time off from work. Now I am back to work so I'm glad I had a good word count going into Monday. Take yesterday, I have an offsite meeting over my lunch and then one a 6, 6:30 and 8. Although I did write before leaving for work and on my tablet (touch screen) I wrote just over 800 words. I have anther meeting tonight at 7, but hope to have a little more time to write in between other stuff during the day.
Am I ever looking forward to Saturday when I can write with literary abandon!
WRITE EARLY; WRITE OFTEN!
I came into this 5 days late, because I did not hear about this until then. I do not work but have had a busy month with lots of traveling, and keeping up with Christmas things (mine will be on Thanksgiving this year instead if December). I do like you said and set a goal. Since I was 5 days behind, my word count goal is 2,000 words a day (which is a lot for me) but I have been making my personal goal 2,500 to 3,000 per day in order to catch up to everyone else. I had a really rough day yesterday, only getting to 900 words before blanking out, I then put it down then came back to it later and unexpectedly cranked out a total of 3,000 words, something I seriously never thought I would accomplish yesterday. Sometimes you just have to walk away for a while, other times you just have to force yourself to throw words on the page.
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