Sunday, November 19, 2023

NaNo check-in

It's day 19 of NaNoWriMo and I am having some feelings.

Originally, I wasn't going to write a post on NaNo until the month was over, but I'm at a point where I feel like a check-in is due, so here we are! A little-more-than-halfway check-in!

As I mentioned earlier this month, my goal for NaNo was to use it to finish the first draft of the novel I'm working on. I set my word count goal at 30,000 words but secretly thought I could finish the novel in 20,000. I planned to write 1000 words daily.

So, as of October 31, I had 49,483 words written. That was my starting point.

I have successfully written at least 1000 words every day, but most days I go over. I'm thoroughly enjoying logging my word count on the NaNo website and tracking my progress.

Love this for me!
This challenge has helped me power through some of the harder scenes where, in the past, I would just let the draft flounder for a few months (or years) rather than write a less-than-perfect rendition of a scene I'd built up in my head.

I'm leaning into the power of mantras to get me through some of this.

Ignore the sticky with my GI contact info. #celiacproblems
With 11 days of the challenge to go, I have (I think) about 4 chapters left to write. I realize now how silly I was to think I'd only need 20k...I clearly had no idea how many words/pages I would need to build each scene and chapter, which has been an interesting learning curve! 

I've never written with a final word count in mind; I generally just write the draft and call it done when I get to the end. Because I always hit at least 50k, I've never stopped to really think about word count during the writing process.

The draft is currently around 75k.
But the end is what brings us to this blog post. In the last 15 years, I tend to give up on my novels at one of two points: the climax or the denouement. If I can power through the daunting undertaking of writing the climax, I almost never write the final chapters of the novel. It lives in my head, but I just can't ever seem to get it on paper.

This time will be different. I'm not sure if I'll finish this novel by November 30 –  that's sort of my secondary goal, after reaching the word count –  but I do intend to finish it. The way things are going, it will surely be finished before the end of the year.

I'm on track to reach the 30k goal by Nov. 22, apparently.
I have hit the hard part, though. I was able to power through the climax with only a little panic, but I can fully feel myself digging my heels in as I near the end of this novel. Part of that fear is doubt in my ability to bring this thing home. The other part is that I'm not sure what will happen after. What if I feel burned out and don't want to start another? What if I never have another story idea ever again?

When you write for yourself and not to publish, finishing a draft is a private triumph. I'll probably print the novel and stick it under my bed to join the others. I'll probably never read it in its entirety, for fear that I'll cringe at how terrible it is.

So, finishing means saying goodbye to the characters I've grown fond of, and I'm not sure I'm ready for that. I started this novel March 1, 2022, then let it languish for a year or more. To finish means the story is over, the arcs and outcome are set. I'm not emotionally prepared for it!

Zoe has offered excellent moral support through the hard chapters.
But, it has to be done. I'm putting some NaNo "winner" merch in my cart and preparing to hit my 30k goal ahead of schedule and then...well, the end is nigh.

It may be time to start brainstorming a title.


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