November was a crazy month. First and foremost, I beat NaNoWriMo!
That’s a heck of an accomplishment for any month.
Not only did I beat it, but I ended up with a whopping 72,472 words, almost half again the required 50,000. This averages out to a ridiculous 2,418 words per day.
That knocks my prior daily productivity out of the park. As I calculated during October’s Review, my daily average for the past year has been around 860 words per day.
I’m really glad I participated in NaNoWriMo. I benefited from it immensely:
- I pushed myself to achieve and sustain a very, very high rate of work output
- I accomplished something I committed to
- And, perhaps most exciting of all, I have the beautiful first draft of a complete novel!
It’s exciting to finally have a completed first draft of a novel in hand. That’s a first for me. Over the course of my writing, I have mainly worked on two large projects with some short pieces on the side.
The first project was terrible. It was my first attempt at a novel. In theory it was “complete,” but it was such a disaster I don’t think it deserves that designation. I plan to go back and re-work the story one day, but I’ve since stumbled into projects that are more exciting and closer to being of quality.
My other major project is nearing completion, but it’s not quite there. Yet. I left it just before the story’s climax in order to switch over to NaNoWriMo.
In other words, this is the first time I’ve ever completed the full first draft of a novel.
Don’t get me wrong. The story needs work. There are vast swaths that need to be re-written or re-worked (probably both). But it’s a solid first draft. I feel good about it. And it’s done.
And that’s a heck of a lot.
Having a full first draft puts me one big (BIG!) first step towards publishing a novel.
Some Thoughts on Output
So, of course, with glowing enthusiasm for my newly completed novel, my thoughts turn to the output rate that got me there.
NaNoWriMo was awesome. I ended the month with a novel in hand! Wow! Why not write tons and tons all the time? Slam out first drafts every month?
The obvious answer to this feeling of excitement is… to just keep writing ~2,000 words per day.
It’s just not realistic.
As much as I enjoyed NaNo, it was too time intensive. I barely blogged (!). I was unable to work on my non-fiction projects. And don’t even get me started on the whole medical school and rest of my life thing.
I need to find a perfect medium where I am able to produce writing at a rapid pace but can do so without completely drawing my attention away from my other writing interests.
Thus, I am thinking about changing my “rules” to require more than 1 page per day, but I’m not sure where I want to set the bar.
More to come on that later.
The immediate plan is to start blogging more and return my attention to my almost-complete at-the-climax novel. I should be able to finish the first draft by the end of December.
After that, with two first drafts in hand, it will be time for me to start planning out how to do some editing.
A lot of editing.
Type Prior Total This Month New Total
Fiction: 285,233 72,472 357,705
Non Fiction 10,418 0 10,418
Blog Posts 31 8 (ugh) 39
As you can see, I’ve failed to produce a meaningful body of content for this blog and the other two I occasionally write for.
I sincerely apologize.
I knew that NaNoWriMo would cause the other parts of my writing life to take a hit, but I had hoped to fare better than that.
Things will improve this month.
Also, as you can see, my non fiction writing output was literally zero. That’s fine. When time constraints push, my non fiction writing will always be the first domino to fall.
Goal For December
I have two goals for December.
1.) Rule Change?
As I mentioned above, I have been thinking about trying to alter my daily writing rules. There are two reasons for this. First, I think the “page” concept is nebulous compared to something like a firm word count. I may or may not have occasionally been a turd on tough days and abused dialogue to complete more lines and get closer to the end of the page. I know. Gross.
Second, I want to write more than just 1 page a day. I can do better.
I’m going to spend some time this month thinking about what the right word count target might be.
2.) Finish It!
I want to finish off the first draft of the novel I have been writing for… well, for a long time. I think I started it in April, but it has been so long I’m not even sure.
Stephen King says (check #10) a first draft should never take longer than 3 months. So… well… errrr… whoops.
At the moment, the monster stands at 130,000+ words, and it’s not even done yet.
I need to finish this thing.
Img Raul Lieverwirth