Weekly Musing: NaNo Check-in #1

Ahhh, so NaNo has officially started! This week leading up to November 1st has been one filled with anxiety, fear, and self-doubt because of the realization of what I am about to embark upon. A novel. At least 50,000 words. In 30 days. Needless to say a lot of this week trying to figure out if what I’m doing is the right thing.

My original intention this week was to prep for November 1st. What that looked like consisted of quasi-finalizing an outline, review my notes, and dust off the tri-fold board which serves as a brief timeline of events I want to incorporate into my novel. All the organizational stuff to satisfy my efficient personality. But the internal struggle of ‘Now I have to sit down and write the damn thing’ kicked in and took over.

Sure I got some things done. I tried something different and instead of prepping an extensive outline, I did a one page synopsis of what each of my main character’s story is. I included how their story starts, briefly what will happen to them, and what the ending looked like for each of them. Another thing I got done was to put into a folder maps of Wales and England, character sheets for my main characters, printed off scene ideas, and organized my notebooks of research. I also dusted off some of the research stored on EverNote and downloaded the app for my phone.

Even with the prepping, I couldn’t ease my mind. It’s a daunting task and I know I’m not ready for it. I spent a good portion of Halloween looking at NaNo’s website as a way of calming myself down and to get inspiration.

One of the best threads was about rewarding yourself as you go along. Many people were going to do daily rewards for hitting their word count. Candy was a popular one. Others planned on rewarding themselves with video game time, going to a movie, knitting, spending time with friends and family, etc.

I hadn’t thought about doing this but it makes a lot of sense. My goal isn’t so much a word count but time spent writing. One of the biggest things I’ve struggled with this year is the amount of time I’m physically writing. My goal is to write 3 hours each day. If I reach that, I get a piece of leftover Halloween candy. For every 5,000 words I hit, I’ll play a few hours of BioShock Infinite. When I’ve hit 25,000 words, I’ll pick something small from the shop on NaNo’s website and treat myself to a nice lunch. When I hit the big 50,000 word count, I’ll take myself out to a nice dinner and get myself something else from NaNo’s store. The extra kicker will be if I’m finished with the novel at that point, I get an extra special reward. If the novel isn’t finished, though, then that’s okay and when it is finished, I’ll give myself that extra special reward then.

November 1st finally arrived and it was a busy, busy day. I managed to squeeze in time to write between cleaning my house for potential buyers and generally trying to recover from being sick the past few days. I was exhausted by the time of the NaNo kick-off meeting held at a local library yet excited.

It was a small group, about a dozen people gathered on a Friday night. The group ranged in age from late teens/early 20s to a retiree. Everyone introduced himself or herself and we played a get-to-know-you game before settling down to write for an hour. A fun activity we did, one that is a really great exercise, was to either draw or write down on a notecard what our Internal Editor looks like and says. We placed the notecards into an envelope and sealed it. The instructions were to not open it up until after NaNo. It’s a symbolic gesture. A way to put that dreaded Internal Editor away for a month thus freeing up our creativity.

But I got my novel started! The NaNo website itself allows you to keep track on your work and counts the words for you. I haven’t officially entered my word total as of this blog posting but subsequent November blogs will be updated with where I’m at word count wise. Fingers crossed I’m above the daily average of 1,667.

Happy NaNo everyone!

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