sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

November 5, 2006

nanowrimo: the first five days
posted by soe 11:56 pm

Five days out seemed like a good time to look back on the NaNoWriMo progress made to date.

Day 1: I roared out of the start, completing 2,017 words on the first night. This much progress was made in less than four hours, during which time I also was able to eat dinner and talk to my MIL on the phone. I was impressed with myself, perhaps a little cocky. I felt confident that I could write a 50,000 word novel and still have a life.

Day 2: Hubris is an amazing thing. 619 words. I did not turn the tv on. I did not pull out the knitting. It had been a long day at work and Rudi went out for the evening to a meeting, leaving me home alone. I think that a better strategy would have been to take a 30 minute nap and then to have gotten up to write because I was clearly exhausted. I did manage to Swiffer my ceiling, so the evening was not a total loss.

Day 3: Little writing was expected to get done this evening because I had long-standing plans to see a movie with friends. Of course, the movie was sold-out. But we went out for tea instead. The good news is that the victim of the story was named through a joint effort by my friends. When I got home, I fell asleep on the couch instead of writing. Total words: a big, fat 0.

Day 4: Painful, painful, painful. I hate novels, writing, and everything about them. I am miserable. Rudi is miserable. Why am I doing this again? Think of how much knitting I could have gotten done by now this month if I weren’t supposed be working on this stupid thing. The day was lovely and I spent it all inside. I feel like Sally Brown in It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, after she skips out on trick-or-treating and a party to sit outside all evening waiting for something she thought would be even better. Is it possible for this to get worse? I eke out just over 600 words.

Day 5: Before going to bed on Day 4, I decide that Kat has the right idea and that I need more micro-goals in order to get where I need to go. So I wrote out a whole page of numbers. This helps some. As does actually leaving the house during daylight hours. The word count currently sits at 5,515. I’d like to get in another 535 words before bed because that will be double what I had when I started the day.

Encouragement is welcome (and necessary).

Category: nanowrimo. There is/are 7 Comments.

I send you as much encouragement as I am able… thanks for your kind blog words (and suggestion about catnip and tea… i wonder if catnip makes PEOPLE as high as it makes cats…) I find that knitting a row or two WHILE WRITING helps me. It relieves the sense of pressure I feel while staring at a blank computer screen, and sometimes helps the creative juices flow (thus the knitted mice. Mice to date? five). good luck!

Comment by Jennie 11.06.06 @ 1:06 am

You’re doing great! You updated your number tonight just before I updated mine. You must have been writing at the same time I was!

Comment by Karen 11.06.06 @ 2:11 am


You can do this! I second both the idea of mini-plans (mine is to write for at least half an hour a day – if I do more, awesome. If not, oh well – at least I did some. Today I shall put this mini-plan into action) and the idea of little breaks, like a bit of knitting, or some reading, or swiffering the ceiling 🙂

Good luck! You can do this!!!

Comment by Jenn 11.06.06 @ 7:14 am

Stop thinking about this as a dreaded task. Get into your characters. What is making them move in the story. I may be time to throw in a new obstacle that hinders the protagonist or misleads the reader. I’ve noticed that some writers like Mary Higgins Clark take a breath and summarize what every character has done so far. I’ve never liked that, but consider a story line bump.

Comment by DOD 11.06.06 @ 12:08 pm

Don’t fret… there is still a lot of November left! (And if the days all go as slowly as today seems to be, you’ll have no problem at all.)

As for ways of getting unstuck, have you tried writing something not related to the novel? Just any old thing to remind yourself that you can, in fact, make sentences. Or maybe something about one of your characters that has nothing to do with the actual story. It could help get you moving again and there’s always the chance you can drop it in later as a flashback or something!

Comment by Sarah 11.06.06 @ 4:44 pm

Wow sprite! You are doing great with NaNoWriMo!
It is kicking my butt! But I will continue to write till the last day of the project! 🙂
Micro goals are a good thing! Yes?

Comment by Paula 11.07.06 @ 4:15 pm

Pomegranate, the NaNo person who writes to everybody in San Diego, wrote that this second week is the hardest. As she puts it, the novelty of writing a novel has worn off by now.

I hate to be statistically normal.

Final Fantasy XII arrived in the mail, and when I couldn’t take staring at the screen wondering what my characters were supposed to do in between where they were and where I wanted them to get to, I popped it in. That stopped me from doing as much as I wanted to on Monday, and I didn’t get anything done yesterday at all.

My style and tone are all wrong. My characters are not coming to life on the page as accurate representations of the versions in my head. Their dialog is insipid.

The world they are in, which should be fantastical, is seeming rather flat and hastily sketched.

This morning, when I was waking up, I started to consider my decision to have the story follow the point of view of the main character 100% of the time. Would it be better to get more Tad Williams and take several main characters and weave them slowly together?

I’m getting really frustrated with what I have so far, wanting to scrap it all and do it again better. I feel like a painter with a masterpiece clearly envisioned in my head. But instead of painting with a trained hand, I’m forced to spit paint from the top of the Empire State Building at the canvas on the street below. The result is not looking like what I imagined.

I guess whichever organ is responsible for coughing out metaphors has gotten activated. That might be good.

I brought Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone to work with me today, as well as Tad William’s War of the Flowers (a story about a fairy changeling). My hope is to get inspiration from skimming the two of those to get back on track for what the rest needs to be, and sort out what the part I already have done should have been later.

From the statistics that Pomegranate sent, if we haven’t given up completely by now, chances are high we can make it through the end.

I’m struggling with the word count goal versus my own standards of wanting quality over quantity. I’m able to see how striving for quantity exposes little things that will make the story better when I go back and edit it later, things that I wouldn’t have found otherwise that just come to the surface after sifting and sifting… So I’ll deal with it.

Comment by Grey Kitten 11.08.06 @ 2:58 pm