Six days into National Novel Writing Month and I have met my word count goals. The goal: 1,667 words a day. Every day. For the entire month of November. The ultimate goal is to “win” NANOWRIMO2017 by completing a 50,000 word novel. It is a joyous thing in the beginning. It becomes a slog through quicksand and sucky words around 30,000 words and when you hit the 45,000 word mark you can see, feel and taste the deadline and you get a burst of energy! How do I know? I’ve won NANO several years in a row.
This year, I am working on the first in my three book cozy mystery series: River Magic Mysteries. The first book is tentatively titled, “Teacups & Tarot.” Not sure where the title came from, but it just felt right.
Don’t Bother Me I’m Doing #NANOWRIMO2017
Now that I am almost a week into NANO, here are some truths I want to share.
Your novel will rarely be far from your thoughts. I find that I have my novel idea rolling around in my head most of the time — especially when I am trying to wind down and get some sleep. I mull the next steps of my protagonist. I consider whether the death of my “bad guy” was truly justified. I get into the head of the suspects I’ve created and keep them from spilling their secrets too soon. I stress that I don’t have enough meat to the story and that the plot will fall apart midway through. Gack!
Carry a notebook with you always. If you don’t want to carry a notebook, but you always have your phone, then have a notepad function at the ready for any time you get a brilliant idea. Do not, I beg of you, rely on your memory to keep track of this idea as you go about the rest of your day. When you have an idea — no matter how small or irrelevant it may seem — write it down. It just might be that nugget you’re looking for to propel the story forward. I speak from experience. I also have my phone bedside during NANO to capture middle of the night thoughts.
Fill your creative well. Believe me, when you’re in the midst of NANO it is easy to concentrate solely on the output of words. You also need to feed your creative spirit. Finish your daily 1,667 words then step away. Work on your crochet or knitting or woodworking project. Veg out with some television (only if you’ve gotten your words in!). Take a walk. Pet the dog. Do something that is not related to words so your creativity can replenish itself.
Do not rely on the Muse. She is a fickle bitch at the best of times but I believe she hovers just out of reach during NANO. It’s like she’s saying, “Hey, you signed up for this crazy word output, I didn’t” and therefore, she is of no help. You need to plow forward with or without the help of a muse. Put your fingers to the keyboard and write! You. Can. Do. This!