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.


About Squishy

Writer, dancer, gamer, and admirer of all that is beautiful.

Posted on November 8, 2010, in Ishy Writes! and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Glad to hear yours is doing so well so far!

    So far, not too bad for me. I’m just a couple hundred words under the desired word count (13,056), but I have enough time later in the week to make up for the Monday and Tuesday slack. I write better in binges anyways. The plot is going well but progressing slightly faster than anticipated. Might have to hop back in and add some more words once I see where the final word count is. Not a biggy. I already know where those words could easily go.

    My biggest discovery so far, though, is that I’m a pantser, not a planner. Surprise!

  2. Mine’s going great, so far. The plot has stayed on my vaguely-defined track, but new elements have revealed themselves as they saw fit. I’m beginning to broach the largest ‘grea area’ in my outline, but I’ve got enough plot thread to navigate to the end, and plenty of opportunity to freestyle between points A and B, so I think I’ll be okay.

    I also learned that I am slightly unsure about matters of dialogue, particularly of paragraphing when the speaker doesn’t change, and whether or not to paragraph when there’s a sentence or two in between lines of dialogue from the same character. Blah.

    I’m also thinking I might include the incident I wasn’t sure about including, since I’m burning through words quicker than expected, and I’m now considering shooting for 80 000 words. If I can hit that before December 31st, I could throw my hat into the Terry Pratchett Novel Contest, possibly. Unfortunately, that’s only open to the Commonwealth. Being subservient to the Queen’s looking pretty nice now, eh?

  3. Like I said, anyone who is writing beyond the wanted word-count, rules!
    I am just managing to stay around the desired word-count. I wish I could write more but school hates me and all that.
    So far so good with the plot but I am very close to blanking out. I just know it.
    I have learned that I stink at writing third person PoV when humans are involved. I also learned that I use too many cliches in dialogues (Isn’t this how you spell it? My spell checker doesn’t agree.). I learned that I hate updating my word-count widget. That site is so slow.
    And I learned how to write in the dark! Here is the secret: Green glitter pens on yellow post-its.. Very productive month…

  4. It’s not going too well in my case unfortunately. My body really chose a bad moment to break down, as I’ve been feeling sick and exhausted since the start of the month. I constantly feel like I could fall asleep at any moment. That’s saying a lot, normally I don’t get sick easily at all. But I shouldn’t be too surprised, I guess all the pressure has finally started to catch up on me.

    I did manage to write a few hundred words (impressive, I know…) on the first day, but I have basically stopped writing for NaNoWriMo since then…

    Maybe I should just have my own little private NoWriMo once I feel better again.

    • I hope you feel better!! Even if you decide to have a private NoWriMo, you’ll for sure have my support. I intend to keep up my writing habits well after November, so we can even do a joint venture if you would fancy.

  5. Starting to feel a bit better now. It would be nice to do a joint venture. My workshop ends at the end of November, so I need something else to help me keep writing after that.

    • I can help with that. I’ll be working on Rephaim for the rest of this year, then come Jan/Feb, I shall continue with Evalise’s story and hopefully finish it in those two months. Then it’s NaNoEdMo come March, when I’ll return to revise Rephaim. Perhaps we can set a goal for, say, 70k words in two months? 1150 words a day should be easier than the 1667 for NaNo. What do you think?

  6. Sounds like good idea, but I am going on holiday for 3 weeks starting from January 21st, so unfortunately the dates don’t work out on the short term.

    As for myself, I will use the last two weeks of November to rest up, tie up some loose ends at work, and do some thinking. Hopefully I’ll start writing more seriously in December, as well as the first 3 weeks of January. I think I will aim for 50-60k words during those 7 weeks. After I come back from holiday, I might start following another 10 week writing workshop to further improve my skills, and hopefully when March comes along, I will have enough material to revise for NaNoEdMo.

    Sounds like a plan, but I’m notorious for not following up on my plans, so I might rely on you for some moral support.

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