Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Better planning, better result

After November, Christmas should be a breeze.


Today I’m washing clothes, catching up on paperwork, finishing Christmas shopping, and making long-overdue phone calls because NaNoWriMo is over for another year and work-life balance can be somewhat restored.

a graph of the word count for NaNoWriMo during 2015.
My stats for this year's NaNoWriMo.
I hit the 50,000-word target on November 24, and was happy dancing to end the month with 65,437 words – and even more ecstatic that for the first time in three years I stayed on one project and didn’t panic and change after a week.


My husband reckons I'm a NaNoWriPro now, but I think that might take a few more years.

My time management was better this year – no family holidays, and I worked out in advance which days I’d be unlikely to get much writing done due to other commitments, such as days in the city, family get-togethers, and The Good Wife/wine night on Wednesdays.

I set aside entire days to write, banking five to six thousand words at a time, often up at the local caf√© because I knew if I worked at home I’d be distracted. People were starting to make jokes that I had shares in the place, and I was starting to wish I did.

However, some unforeseen circumstances arose. These included:


Being crook as a dog on the first day. I waved my hand vaguely over the keyboard and put down about 400 words – not my smallest daily total for the month – and most of it was deleted the next day because it turns out I can’t form coherent sentences when I’m ill.

Issues with my final uni research project result not being put through and needing to be chased up with constant phone calls and emails.

Massive storms knocking out the power. The laptop was great, but batteries only last so long.

Christmas shopping. I blame my annual denial that this needs to happen for failing to factor this in.

My son getting his hairbrush tangled in his hair. His hair’s only three inches long. He’d never done it before. After two hours of constant, niggling interruptions, I took the tangled hairbrush as a personal attack on my work time.

Planning on writing on the train, then having to drive because the train was late, thereby losing two hours of valuable writing time.

A migraine. Possibly the result of too much coffee drunk with the stress of the previous situation.

On the plus side:


I wrote 65,000 words! The draft isn’t complete yet – I’ve set myself a Christmas deadline to get that done – but it should come in at about 90-100,000. And, unlike the project I worked on last year (which ended up at 150,000 and came back to just under 90,000), I think most of what I wrote for NaNoWriMo will stay in the rewrite.

I wrote every day, even if it was just a few hundred words.

I didn’t get bogged down in research, because that can be filled in later, as can sub-plots, and strengthening detail.

Unlike last year, I stuck with my natural workflow of rereading/editing the previous day’s work before writing, and it worked.

I coped with new elements to my writing: dual POVs, and songwriting. I’ve also realised that just because a character is a songwriter it doesn’t mean his songwriting abilities are any better than my own.

November was my first month as a ‘full time’ writer (excluding after-school activities, workshops and other writing-related commitments), and added to the 15,000 I’d penned in the week before NaNoWriMo.

So I’m taking today to recover and regroup, and tomorrow I’ll hit the keyboard again. Although that might happen later tonight, because I’m in the writing groove.

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