We’re more than halfway through NaNoWriMo! I just have to say I’ve loved your responses about participating in a blogging version of NaNoWriMo, and I appreciate the encouragement. So to celebrate the middle of the month (wow, how is it already the middle of November?), I thought to share the lowdown on how the writing challenge is going.
Spoiler alert: While I’m still writing much more than I have recently, I haven’t quite been able to keep up with the 1,667 daily word count. I’ve achieved the goal some of the days… but not every day. Sometimes things in life pop up, or I simply prefer to spend my evening eating full-size Snickers and watching Men in Black with a small glass of milk
First thing to say about participating in NaNoWriMo: it’s definitely not easy. I’d even go so far to say it’s pretty damn hard. I sit down to write most days and write at least 500 words, though only about half the time I reach the anticipated 1,667 daily word count. Missing the daily goal one day here, one day there doesn’t seem like too big of a deal… but wow, it really adds up when you have to write an average of 1,667 words each day. I can tell you right now that I probably won’t reach the overall goal of 50,000 words by the end of November. That’s not undervaluing myself, that’s just being realistic.
But you know what? That’s totally okay with me. Because the fact is, I’m still trying and working toward that goal of writing 50,000 words. Hey, I’m writing right now and actively working toward that goal. That by itself says something, don’t you think? I do. I think that above all, it’s the effort that counts. And if anything, that’s what this writing challenge is teaching me. I’m not sitting down to write 1,667 words every single day, but I’m still shooting for that today—and multiple other days this month. As a direct result, I now have about 8 drafts of blog posts, which is probably 7 more than I would normally have.
These blog posts still need tidying up, but I love having that many drafts in the works. It makes me feel productive and continuing to grow, for my own writing skills and for my blog. These drafts give me something tangible to work toward, to hit publish. And I’ll admit, they’re not mind-blowing pieces of writing. Half of what I’ve written may not even get published as a sacrifice of writing on the seat of my pants. But it’s the excitement of going with the flow in the moment, then creating something polished and new yet still easily recognizable from its original form.
Favorite App for Freewriting
I’m curious, what’s your favorite method of freewriting? Several years ago, I spent $20 on this app called WriteorDie v.2. I thought maybe I’d regret the purchase since it’s considerably basic, but it turned out to be one of my most used apps, especially on my desktop. I set a word count goal and timer, then begin writing and if I hesitate too long, the words I’ve already written will start disappearing. The timer with words per minute help me stop overthinking and simply write what comes to mind, which has been extremely helpful during this NaNoWriMo challenge. The app is my favorite way to create the first draft of a blog post before I reshape and revise it in a Word document. (I understand the WriteorDie creator is about to release a version 3 soon.)
The Need to Edit More, Too
Like I touched on earlier, NaNoWriMo is even helping me with my editing skills—or, rather, it’s pushing me along to actually do the editing. Because I’m writing so many blog post drafts, I’m also not procrastinating on the editing and finalizing process like I typically do. I don’t have time to procrastinate, these posts gotta get published before there’s a back-up and (gasp) they become irrelevant!
Keeping Up With Blog Post Ideas
Over these past few weeks, I’ve also gone through several phases where I have no idea what to write about. This first occurred 3 days into NaNoWriMo, after I finished the first drafts of several blog posts recently on my mind. The next few days were a little sluggish with my writing, since I felt I was just writing to write. Sure enough, a new round of fresh writing ideas found me and I wrote and wrote, before exhausting those as well. Back to the drawing board (and definitely utilizing my Pinterest board “Blog Post Ideas”) More ideas, thus more writing. It’s a pattern I’ve started getting used to, and I make a point to add new ideas and concepts to an ongoing “Blog Post Ideas” list. If I don’t know what to write about as I sit down for the daily freewrite, I pull up that list and start with whatever calls to me.
Target Completion Date
My NaNoWriMo dashboard informs me that if I continue writing at my current pace, I will achieve my 50,000-word goal on January 6th, 2018. Okay, so maybe it’s not November 30th, 2017, but if you ask me that’s still a lot of writing to be proud of! Like I said above, it’s truly more about the effort. I’m setting my personal goal to complete this 50,000-word writing challenge by the end of 2017 (so, December 31st). Amidst the holidays and travel, I believe that’s a fair goal adjustment.
The traditional version of NaNoWriMo
I’m already eyeing doing the writing challenge “properly” next year, as my mind is working out kinks of a novel idea. I love love love the concept of the actual NaNoWriMo, though I just didn’t follow through this year because I wanted to get things a little more organized with my novel idea. But blogging, ah, now see that’s what I’ve been hung up on and want to do better right now. I like to think that a novel may be easier because it’s one entire first draft created completely from my imagination, but I honestly couldn’t say. In one way, turning NaNoWriMo into a blogging challenge has so many opportunities and avenues to explore in writing, while at the same time it feels like there’s a guidebook to adhere to, full of what if’s and should I’s.
(Again, that’s what I love about the WriteorDie2 app—it doesn’t give me the time to think about that theoretical blogging handbook. The only thing to focus on is writing, and that’s exactly what I’m doing.)
|Current Word Count:||13,484|
|Average Words Per Day:||749|
|At This Rate, I’ll Finish On:||January 6th, 2018|
|Wordiest Day:||2,300 on November 18th, 2017|
|Target Completion Date:||December 31st, 2018|
Overall, I’m really excited to finally participate in this writing challenge after talking about wanting to for 3 years. I wondered whether I should even try at first because I didn’t know about moving forward with a novel, but realized it doesn’t necessarily have to be a novel. It can just as easily be journaling or blogging—shoot, even creating an ebook/ecourse. I think of the writing challenge as an overarching challenge to create content freely and consistently. It’s about drawing out our creativity and encouraging one another to continue creating content and following through to complete our written piece(s) (whether it’s a novel or an email newsletter).
Have you participated in NaNoWriMo before? Are you right now, and if so, how’s it going so far?
[P.S. – I have no affiliation with WriteorDie. I just really love it for freewriting.]