NaNoWriMo: “I did it!” Post

28 11 2009

NaNoWriMo Winner Badge


I just verified my status as a NaNoWriMo winner, and I feel like running around the house, my arms waving madly around my head while my heels kick together in mid-air.  My family would just shake their heads and say, “Oh, she’s lost it again.”


Apparently, I’m not a great mathematician, as my final word count is significantly higher than what I had thought it was (as in, I was about 8,000 words off from the actual total, but at least that 8,000 made it a higher number than what I had calculated…).  Oops.  Ah, well.  I take it as a good sign that I was so into writing that I forgot to update my word counts when I should have.


My inability to count is not the purpose of this post.  I wanted to take a moment to celebrate authors everywhere, whether they are participating in NaNoWriMo or not.  For all you writers out there who take the plunge and put pieces of yourself on a page for others to read, take a moment to pat yourself on the back and realize just how brave and amazing you are.


The adrenaline rush is only going up from here, and I can’t stay seated much longer, so this post will be cut short.  I literally need to run around to burn some of this energy.  I wish all you who are working on your NaNoWriMo novels the best and hope that either you are already celebrating with me or you will be celebrating with me within the next couple days.  You can do it!


NaNoWriMo Update: Day 20

20 11 2009

I am exactly 2/3 of the way through NaNoWriMo, and I’ve managed to stay on target to finish the 50,000 words by the end of the month.  I want to do a happy dance for myself, but I’m disappointed that my progress has stalled lately.  The only reason I’m still on target is that I had worked ahead earlier on in the month.  I haven’t made my daily writing goals for the past few days, and I’m in need of a pick-me-up.  I am at that point that is supposed to be “magical” where you are so close to being finished that making 50k-goal should feel so much easier.  Yet, it doesn’t.


Parts of writing have become easier–I’m more familiar with my story and my characters, so when I sit to write, the words tend to come a bit more easily.  And since I had outlined so much in advance, writing the scenes goes smoothly.  My problem is getting the motivation to sit and write when I’m sick, when the semester is getting more hectic the closer it gets to the end, when there are so many good shows on TV, when there are so many blogs to read…  Okay, so once I start making excuses, they tend to get lame pretty quickly, which means I need to stop making excuses and start writing again.


My goal is to make it to 36,000 words by the end of the day tomorrow; as a different way of looking at it, my goal is to make it through the next chapter of my novel by the end of tomorrow.  If anyone has any encouraging words for writing to send my way, I sure wouldn’t mind hearing them. 🙂

NaNoWriMo Update, Day 8

8 11 2009

I thought the weekends would prove to be the most difficult time for me to find time for my writing because my entire family is at home.  Granted, my “entire” family is a small one, but I find it more difficult to carve time out for myself when my son and husband are running around me, asking for my attention.  So part of my motivation for having a higher word count going into the weekend was that if I didn’t get any writing done over the weekend, it wouldn’t matter as much.  I thought Monday could be my catch-up day.


I was wrong.  My problem (at least right now) is that all I want to do is work on my novel.  In fact, the only times I’m not working on my novel are the times I’m cruising Twitter, blogs, or the NaNoWriMo website.  Sometimes working on my novel is not working toward increasing my word count–I’m planning, working on the full list of names I’ll need for characters so I’m prepared, and getting together any research I’ll need while writing.


Why is that problematic?  After all, my goal is to finish the novel, and I am getting a lot of valuable work done toward that goal.  The problem is that I still have a full-time job to think about; I’ve got papers to grade and lectures to prepare, but I can’t seem to focus on them.  I’m sure that by the end of the month I’ll be feeling worn down from all the novel writing and will welcome distractions in any forms, including grading.  For the time being, though, I’m struggling to juggle some vital aspects of work with writing.  Here’s my current to-do list:


To-Do List

What I have on my list to do today

Yesterday I had a productive writing day, but I didn’t get around to grading 10 compositions, which means I have more of those to grade today.  Oops.


My question to all you readers out there who have a lot to juggle is, “What works for you?”  I’ve tried to-do lists (and still try them, convinced that someday they’ll work out for me), but I tend to brush them off.  Is there a reward system that works?  Is there some program that prods you into action when need be?  I tell my students that time management skills are the key to success–and they are–but that doesn’t mean I’ve figured out how to best implement them.


As an update on my word count, I surpassed my 12,700-word goal yesterday (woo-hoo!) and have set a 15,000-word goal for today.  My other goal for the day is to get off the computer and not touch it again until I’ve crossed at least one of those other items off my to-do list.