NaNoWriMo Week 1 Update
There are already a bajillion of these posts across the blogosphere, but it’s been a while since I’ve actually posted anything here, so I’m joining the fray.
First off: Widgets! The official word count widgets are up. They automatically update with your official NaNoWriMo word count, and the word “participant” will change to “winner” once you hit the 50k. They also give you several choices for widgets, from region counts to word wars, and percentages to custom word count goals. Personally though, I don’t think the blue would match my whole green-based theme here.
What would make them better for me would be if I could change the colors, fonts, and sizes of the thing. Since I can’t, I’m sticking with my homemade word count widget. The official NaNoWriMo API for accessing your word count is all in XML, and WordPress only allows HTML, so I do have to manually update my widget. Bugger, that.
Next: Write-ins! The two wonderful MLs of NaNoBoston put on two regional write-ins a week. These are complete with door prizes, goal bells, a professional photographer, and crazy hats. My goal this year, beyond finishing my novel, is to attend every single regional write-in. So far so good!
Beyond those are the “satellite” write-ins, or write-ins hosted by NaNoWriMo participants. I’ll attend one of those tonight about a mile from me, and another Wednesday night that isn’t much further. I’m also trying to host my own on Saturday afternoons, but I’m not sure how well that will go.
Write-ins are fantastic for support and motivation, but they are also rife with distractions. I enjoy going to them, but I find I get most of my writing done when I’m at home in the evening with headphones on and a cup of tea. I know of several people who feel the opposite — they write more at write-ins than they would if left to their own machinations.
Lastly: Progress! You can look at my widget to see my progress, and click my web badge to view more detailed information on my NaNoWriMo author page. I expected this novel to extend about 70k words, making the first act about 17.5k words. At the moment, the first act ends around 18k words, so I’m quite happy with that. It will shift when I go back and edit, of course, but as of now, things seem to be progressing more or less as planned.
Technically speaking, by the end of today (November 8th) you should have written a total of 13,336 words. Your first act should have ended around 12,500 words. That is, of course, if you’re going by the standard structure of acts where the first one consists of approximately one-fourth of the novel.
So now I open this to you all: How well is your novel progressing, in terms of both plot and word count? What have you learned so far about yourself, your novel, and your writing/procrastinating style?
Quick and dirty writing tip for NaNo and beyond: Forget quality. This is a first draft, so your goal should be to simply get the words on paper/screen. Editing comes afterward. If you find a flaw or change your mind about something, don’t go back and fix it. Instead, skip a line or two and write yourself a note. Mark what you want to fix and how you want to fix it. This will add to your word count, save you revision time later, and let you continue writing assuming you made the changes you listed.