NaNoWriMo 2015: Week 4 Check In

November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), during which writers all around the world take on the challenge of penning 50,000 words in 30 days. As a first time NaNo (as we call ourselves), I was eager to learn how other writers tackle the task, so I put the call out and found five writers to share their NaNoWriMo journeys.

Each week, I’ve been checking in to see how the writers are doing. The challenge ends at midnight tonight and I caught up with the writers to see if they’ve landed themselves a ‘win’.

The writers will be back on Friday to reflect on their month of writing, but for now, here’s how they went in week four:

Kate Hayford

Writing from: Adelaide, South Australia

Kate Headshot

How many words did you clock this week and what’s your total? (Are you on track to win?)

Just over 17,000 for a total of 48,880. I’m hoping to hit 50,000 on the last day.

What was the high point of your writing week?

I’d been writing a few short scenes to fill in some gaps, and suddenly the whole second half of my novel fell into place. It was like clearing twenty rows in Tetris at once.

Did you run into any unexpected speed humps?

Just one – had a panic attack while sitting at my computer, and six hours later I still hadn’t typed anything.

What’s been the key thing (or things) that’s kept your motivation up throughout the month?

Having Lectito document my NaNoWriMo journey. It would have been fair embarrassing if I’d given up or only written a handful of words.

What are your plans for your book after NaNoWriNo?

I’ll spend the next couple of months editing it to a presentable state, then start looking for publishers. Two chapters have already been published as a short story, so I’m hopeful. This novel is also the creative component of my Ph.D thesis.

Visit Kate’s NaNoWriMo profile.

Jean Davis

Writing from: Holland, Michigan

Jean Headshot

How many words did you clock this week and what’s your total? (Are you on track to win?)

I wrote extra words this week and hit 50K on Thanksgiving. I’m currently still writing, though not as obsessively and am at 52,000 words.

What was the high point of your writing week?

Winning one day earlier than I’ve ever won before. I usually am manically writing up until the last day or two.

Did you run into any unexpected speed humps?

For once, no. I have to admit that this year was smooth sailing.

What’s been the key thing (or things) that’s kept your motivation up throughout the month?

I started this month strong, with my word count above the par line on the graph for the first few days, and I rather liked seeing it there rather than my usual below the line pattern, so I pledged to remain above the line all month. It worked. Some days were close, but I still made it. It helped that I had a couple weekend days to spend time writing so I could get a lot of extra words in to make up for the days when I couldn’t write as much. That way, I never got behind and that made writing time less stressful and more enjoyable.

What are your plans for your book after NaNoWriNo?

I have a long way to go on both projects I started during NaNo, so I’ll be writing away for at least a month or three. My pace will likely slow when NaNo ends, which is probably good in that I can take stock of what I have so far, do a little clean up, and then proceed onward with more of a solid plot plan in mind. Eventually I’d like to edit them, send them out for feedback, and get them into submissions.

Visit Jean’s NaNoWriMo profile.

Bacil Donovan Warren

Writing from: Tucson, Arizona
Bacil Headshot

How many words did you clock this week and what’s your total? (Are you on track to win?)

This week was mostly spent on freelance writing for other projects, and so I only got 6,052 total words. I did win, though, on the 21st! I was able to verify my word count that day, with something like 50,066, and am now at 56,424 (some discrepancy due to the differences in word counts between NaNoWriMo’s counter and the one I use in Scrivener).

What was the high point of your writing week?

The high point of my writing week was getting a freelance gig for blog posts! Partly due to that, and also partly due to pretty much being finished with my NaNoWriMo project, I haven’t done as much writing on that as in prior weeks.

Did you run into any unexpected speed humps?

The unexpected speed humps I encountered were as a result of the paying gig, so I had to shift gears to that as my primary focus. Fortunately for my novel, I had been plowing along quite steadily from the outset, so I didn’t really get off-track with it. I have gone back to it and added at least a few hundred words every day, however.

What’s been the key thing (or things) that’s kept your motivation up throughout the month?

My main motivations for the week came from two sources: my Writing Buddies, and my internal desire to do it! My writing buddies and I tweeted our word counts at least daily, sometimes more than once a day, and it really helped to keep everyone focused and interested. We also shared the problems we experienced, and helped cheer each other on when things slowed down. Internally, I started motivated to see this thing through and win, and I just sat down every day and wrote!

What are your plans for your book after NaNoWriNo?

After NaNoWriMo, I am going to sign up for the “Now What?” revision promise, and revise & edit the novel with an eye toward publishing it. I may have to shop it around for a while—a process with which I’m sure most if not all of your readers are familiar—but I do hope to get it out sometime in 2016 or early 2017.

Visit Bacil’s NaNoWriMo profile.

Courtney Egan

Writing from: Adelaide, South Australia

Courtney Headshot

How many words did you clock this week and what’s your total? (Are you on track to win?)

I clocked 13,545 for he week with a total of 50,964 as of today. I made it to 50k yesterday (the 29th).

What was the high point of your writing week?

It would have to be reaching 50k. I felt a mix bag of emotions as I sat down and wrote my final 1000 words. It was like rushing through the final pages of a really good book. A part of me didn’t want it to end. Then it happened. I reached 50k. I was relieved and really, really tired. I seriously feel like I could sleep for week. I kept writing for a bit more, only to finish the scene I was up to.

Did you run into any unexpected speed humps?

Not that I can think of. Apart from being tired this week went pretty well. My writing had become part of my daily routine. I know I would have probably had to be a lot more organised with my time had I been working. However, doing NaNoWriMo has been a wonderful learning experience and has shown me exactly what it takes to write, every day, without fail. NaNoWriMo has been a lesson is diligence and determination. It has taught me that a novel, like any creative endeavour takes time and a lot of hard work. A novel begins as a draft – the first step in a long process. A draft can be broken down into manageable, daily word counts targets and in the words of Neil Gaiman it really is a case of putting “One word, after another..” until you have the foundation for your story. That’s pretty much what NaNoWriMo has taught me… that and I can consume large quantities of coffee and not die. Wait… wasn’t this question about speed humps? Hmmm.. there were a lot of huntsman spiders in my office at one stage… that was kind of scary.

What’s been the key thing (or things) that’s kept your motivation up throughout the month?

Family and friends. The love and support I received was phenomenal. I also checked in with fellow NaNoWriMo’s through the Adelaide NaNo Facebook group. I found this pep talk from Neil Gaiman very inspiring too. Especially when I was feeling a bit anxious about whether my story was any good. Drawing and sketching my ideas and as well as referring to the pre-planning I did before NaNo really helped me keep up my enthusiasm for my story, characters and world. I also kept my notes and motivational quotes handy while I wrote. I highly recommend the Ultimate Novel Planning Workbook by AuthorZoo for templates and tips on how to go about planning your novel.

What are your plans for your book after NaNoWriNo?

I hope to finish my first draft by the beginning of next year – will possibly need another 40k before I can do my first round of editing. I’m very keen to publish A Golden Purpose, which will be the first in a series of six potential books. I have considered publishing under the pen name C.C. Redfield. It’s a huge endeavour but hey, if you don’t try you will never know what you can achieve. Completing NaNoWriMo has definitely been a confidence boost.I also hope to create concept art to coincide with publishing my book and to help promote my world and its characters. Wish me luck.

A Golden Purpose

Styna Lane

Writing from: Mansfield, Ohio

Styna Headshot

How many words did you clock this week and what’s your total? (Are you on track to win?)

I got in 4,071 words so far this week, bringing my total to 43,225. I wouldn’t say I’m exactly on track to win – I’m definitely behind on my personal goal. But it’s 5:45 pm on the 29th, here, so I’m going to write straight through until I reach 50,000.

What was the high point of your writing week?

As has been the trend, for me, I wrote the majority of my words on the last day of the week, so that was the high point, I suppose.

Did you run into any unexpected speed humps?

My carpal tunnel has come back with a vengeance, so that’s definitely been quite the hindrance for me. It’s my fault, of course. I haven’t been wearing my wrist braces hardly at all, this month. Thanksgiving didn’t help a lot, either. I think I was in a food coma for an entire day.

What’s been the key thing (or things) that’s kept your motivation up throughout the month?

Mostly just knowing that I really want to get this novel finished. I’d been working on it for a while, then I ditched it and started from scratch for NaNo. The 50% off of Scrivener for winners is quite the incentive, as well 😉

What are your plans for your book after NaNoWriNo?

It’s the sequel to an already self-published novel, so I plan on doing some heavy duty editing during December, then self-publishing in January.

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