This is my first time participating in National Novel Writing Month, and it’s interesting to say the least. The challenge is to start a fresh, new novel and write at least 50,000 words towards it within the month of November. In order to complete that goal, participants would need to write at least 1,667 words a day. There is a certain culture among recurring NaNoWriMo participants that is incredibly inviting. There’s local write-ins, Facebook groups, and many advice articles from established writers provided on the website.
I decided for once I would conquer my greatest fear; writing a book that didn’t have any supernatural or sci-fi elements within it. It had to be pure realistic fiction. I live for writing and creating sci-fi monsters and weaving in supernatural elements of horror. This time around, however, I wanted to see if I could devote myself to something that was a bit out of my comfort zone. Quite honestly, real life is just as terrifying as —if not more than— fictional monsters, so I wanted to encompass that within my book. It took days of documentary watching and researching.
So for the first week of NaNoWriMo, I’ve started off ahead. Like I said in my YouTube video, I wanted to supersede the average goal during the first two weeks to prepare myself for when life gets in the way. For the first two and a half weeks I’m still in school, meaning I have a schedule to work with and keep rigid. Once I return home, I know for a fact I’ll get stuck with getting anything done while there’s chaos surrounding me. On the 27th some of our family friends are visiting and we’re going to Disneyworld until the end of November, so I need to finish significantly early.
My first day was great; I got out 3,272 words. It was a Wednesday, which means I didn’t have class. I devoted the whole day to getting into the story and developing the first and second chapters. I found that word sprinting for the rest of it really pushed me to get what I wanted out as I went with the natural flow of things as my brain couldn’t edit continually. There was only one day where I hadn’t gotten at least a hundred words more than my goal, and that was day two, Thursday. I had my 8am class and then had to go to a Savannah Film Fest event for Women Writers of Horror and SciFi. (It was amazing, to say the least.) I only had 1,731 words that day, but I made the minimum so that’s all that mattered. I almost managed to double down on Double Day, but I fell 200 words short of that.
At the end of what I constituted as my first week, I have 12,026 words completed, where the target goal would’ve been 8,335. The hardest part so far has been getting ready to commit for the day. I’ve been binge watching Bojack Horseman and as much as I love the show, I need to stop putting it in front of my writing. On days where I don’t have my 8am the following day, usually I’m up until 2 in the morning writing because I start at 10 or 12. Writing at least 1,667 words usually takes me about an hour and a half to two hours.
I give myself too gracious of breaks in between sprints, where an originally five minute break can turn into fifteen minutes of social media, two episodes of Bojack Horseman, or an hour long conversation with my roommates about childhood nostalgia and how I still cry laughing at a video of my best friend accidentally punting a soccer ball directly into my face and how my head launched back while she frantically runs over —in slow motion, thanks to video editing software— to check if I’m okay and my mom wheezes.
So, to those of you participating in NaNoWriMo this year, good luck going forward! I’m sure we can finish if we focus. Just stay on target so November 30th doesn’t hit you like this soccer ball hit me. The smack into my face echoes still five years later.