How to do Nanowrimo all wrong

Halloween vs. Nanowrimo

Normally this time of year, I’d be pulling together a last minute Halloween costume inspired by my current sci-fi obsession, like Chell from Portal or Sam Winchester from Supernatural. But not this time. No, I’m spending the dregs of October fleshing out my outline for nanowrimo and getting my submission to my writing group’s anthology ready to go for its November 1st deadline.


portal costume
My coworkers didn’t get it. They kept guessing escaped prisoner. They weren’t really in Portal’s target demographic, so I don’t blame them.


This is my first attempt at nano, and I’m still not really doing it properly. You’re supposed to start a new work, something fresh and specially crafted for November and write 50,000 words of it. No stopping, no editing, no rewriting. This is not my plan. If you’re a nanowrimo purist, you should probably stop reading here.


So why am I bothering?

I have other goals, though, and I’m just going to leverage the nano word count hype to complete my current WIP, The Ven Hypothesis, Book 2 of The Kepos Chronicles. (Before you go googling that, I’m holding them until I’ve got two, hopefully three, to publish in quick succession). I’m 43,134 words in, which I just realized is amazing because it’s a palindrome. That’s a good auspice for the coming month, right? I’ve been developing my daily writing habit, and while I do write almost every day (No matter what you do, life finds a way, right?), I’m not hitting consistently high word counts. Most days, it’s 300-500 words in my hour before work. I have serious doubts about my ability to pull this off. I write heckin’ slow, and 1500 words in a day means at least 3 hours of work at my current pace.


Setting myself up for success

I’ve been working on my routine, trying to identify and eliminate my distractions, and it’s helping. I now write in the morning when I’m fresh. I realized I have to shower the night before and prepare my breakfast and lunch for the next day, otherwise, I lose valuable writing time to these tasks each morning. Now that winter is coming, I got one of those daylight alarm clocks that gradually get brighter before the alarm. I’ve reorganized my workspace and gotten a better lamp in my writing room so it’s not too dark. Before I start writing, I put my computer in airplane mode, and leave my phone in the other room.
Now that I’ve taken some steps to improve my writing environment, I’m hoping I can use nanowrimo to figure out what works for increasing my daily word count without significantly increasing my time. This might be a spectacular failure, but if you’re not failing, you’re not trying.

The Goal: Finish Things!

My nano goal is to finish this draft of The Ven Hypothesis. If it takes 50,000 words, awesome. If it doesn’t, well, I’ll start the outline for Book 3. There’s always something to write! If you have any productivity tips, let me know in the comments. If you’re looking for the advice of someone who really worked out how to increase her word count, I recommend Rachel Aaron’s blog post on the subject. Happy writing!

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