How to Tackle NaNoWriMo: My Advice To You (Day 3 of Countdown) #NaNoWriMo #Writing

Tip 3. SET A DAILY WORD COUNT GOAL!

Setting a daily word count goal is such a helpful thing because it gives you a window or a destination for creative breaks.  If you start NaNoWriMo with the goal of 50,000 words, you run the risk of seeing a never-ending tunnel that just keeps getting longer no matter how fast, hard or far you run. tunnel

Do the math and add on from there. It requires a minimum of 1,666 words typed each day in order to reach 50,000 words by close of November 30th.

I suggest aiming for a higher word count goal for each day but with a cushion for a minimum. If you are already a writer you know that even with set goals, life happens and you may not get to write a single word at all.

WHAT DID I DO?

I scheduled my writing into two sessions a day. In the morning I would write for about 2 to 3 hours with a goal of 2,000 to 3,000 words in that session. And then in the evening, I would write again with a word count goal of 1,500 to 2,000 words.

With roughly 5,000 words written each day, this left me wiggle room for the days where “life” interrupted my flow and meant that I had managed enough words to be closer to 50,000.

Perfect example. The first year I attempted to write a novel in 30 days, I used this model of word count. Things went very well for most of the month but then my neighborhood lost power (as did most of the city due to bad storms. The electricity was out FOR A WEEK!

I had to literally write by candlelight and by hand.

Glad to say that I did make well over novel statues by the end of 30 days and even finished the entire manuscript by close of day 96. But because I had managed to work in 5,000 words a day I had afforded myself that cushion for when life took over.

So if you are keeping up, here are the refreshers with my advice:

TIP 1. Write anything. Let your imagination take control. (Click HERE for full article)

TIP 2. Have a reader who will look over your daily progress with an honest readers eye, and give you feedback. (Click HERE for full article)

TIP 3. Set a daily word count goal that you can manage.

BONUS: Need a creative Springboard? Try this Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt to help get your NaNoWriMo Story going. Click HERE for the opening line! *REMEMBER TO OMIT THE OPENING LINE WORD COUNT FROM YOUR TOTAL WORDCOUNT*

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Writing When Word Weary: Why You shouldn’t Do It

*This is a revised posting from January 26, 2015

You ever have that moment where you have been working on your novel all day, and the writing is so good that it has completely eaten up the reality around you? You are literally in your book.

Being word weary is when you have all of the meat of the story ready to be devoured, but no teeth to chew it.

Ideas are coming at you faster than bullets from a gun, the story is kicking, the plot is thickening…your eyes…your eyes are getting more tired by the minute, No! second. You are hitting the wrong keys left and right, slowing down your once brilliant pace.

What in the world is happening?! Sleeping kid typing

You are Word Weary. ( I totally made up this phrase up…Just go with it.)

First, what is Word Weary? It is when your imagination is going 200mph, but your brain and cognitive skills are going 5mph and slowing with each key stroke.

You are thinking one thing and typing something else. It’s a mess.

Being word weary is when you have all of the meat of the story ready to be devoured, but no teeth to chew it.

Your body is awake and hyped up on adrenaline but your eyes have tapped out.

It simply means you are tired. It’s okay to be tired and even more so to rest. It is better to rest than run on fumes. The worst things happen when we write on fumes.

WHY SHOULDN’T WE WRITE WHEN WORD WEARY?:

When you are weary, anxiety kicks in, and with anxiety that beast called ‘Frustration’, that tells you to rush everything just to get it out.

What should have been detailed, fantastic scenes, full of punch and climactic power, end up confused, stuttered, and limp like cold spaghetti noodles.

All that fire of your creativity will get quenched by exhaustion and confusion will rob you of your train of thought.

When you read that section of writing later, you will think of it as junk, lose interest in what should have been a great nugget of creative work.

What could have been a great idea for later, has now turned to dust and fallen through the crevices of your keyboard.

WHY DID THIS HAPPEN?:

Your imagination was no longer flowing smoothly with the rest of your  skills and everything became a frustrated blur.

But you just HAD to write a few more words, right? WRONG!

SO WHAT DO YOU DO IN THESE MOMENTS?:

Some people get a caffeine fix, but even that will buy you only so much concentration time.

There is  a saying in visual art that is, “Know when to cut off your own hand.” The phrase is referring to knowing when a piece is finished before you take it from great to ruined with one stroke, and to a point of no return.

As writers, we need to know when to “cut off our own hands” or at least bind them for a time especially when we are WORD WEARY.

When we feel our eyes growing heavy from looking at a computer screen for hours, we should give ourselves a break:

  • Jot down our ideas and come back to them later.
  • Write them (type them) like you would a quick synopsis.
  • Record them with a voice recorder just as if you were writing the scene out by hand, and then type it later. There are so many options.

FOR THE FUTURE:

If you are not already in the habit of doing so, plan blocks of time to write. This will help keep you from becoming frustrated with Word Weariness.

  • Try to write at least 1 hour a day to no more than 3 hours per session if you choose to have more than one writing session a day.

I am still working out the kinks with this, but I know it is successful because I used this system two three years in a row for NaNoWriMo, and was able to have more than 50,000 viable words before the end of 30 days.  It also kept me from wearing myself out.

Now I am allotting at least 1.5 hours a day to Ascension Graveyard during the day, with 1.5+ hours in the evening for editing and revising other works. 

Writing, being creative is an organic, asymmetrical expression, that although free flowing, still needs to be tamed. It’s wise to catch it when it sparks, but just like a fire that is left uncontrolled, it will burn you out when it was only meant to warm you.

DO YOU HAVE ANY SUGGESTIONS? WHAT DO YOU DO TO KEEP FOR BECOMING WORD WEARY?

Writer's Table

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

 

Words: How Many Are TOO Many For A Single Chapter?

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I just recently posted the 11th chapter of my blog novel, Ascension Graveyard, and upon copying and pasting the document in the word process here online, I noticed something….

My word count had gone over 5,000 in that chapter alone!

I considered cutting the chapter but after skimming over it, I found that there was no place that would really work, and allow me to maintain the flow of the moment. So I left it as is.

QUESTION? How many words are too many words for a single chapter in a novel?

I like to hover somewhere between 1,000 and 3,500. I will, on occasion, allow somewhere around 4,000, but how many do YOU think is too many?

PLEASE LET ME KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS AND WHY IN THE COMMENTS SECTION.

Cheers!

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Never Judge A First Draft By Its Word Count: The Fun of Novel Writing

The title is pretty self explanatory, right? More so than anything, for me, it is necessary reminder.

I am fiddling with cover ideas...this is my recent attempt.
I am fiddling with cover ideas…this is my recent attempt.

As it stands, I am a mere couple of weeks away from the one year anniversary for when I first started writing Ascension Graveyard…and the first draft STILL isn’t finished.

Now, I am not complaining, because honestly, I have done a crap load of that already, but I have been a little bit nervous.

Why the nerves you ask? Well because I still have a good 30 to 40k worth of words that still need to be said here, and the manuscript, as of 20 minutes ago is at a whopping 130k words!

YIKES!!!!

Imagining that by the time I type those two delicious words, THE END, that I will be hovering at a word count somewhere around 170k makes me jittery. I will have to take a knife to my story and cut things away that I have grown to love. Big chunks of body, flying everywhere! Can you imagine it?!

I don’t want to lay claim to any kind of disorder, but if I had a problem, I would be a hoarder…a word hoarder, a hoarder of snappy analogies and flowery metaphors.

Those two things are what separate a glowing portrait from a basic stick figure.  But they can also weigh down a novel with an excess of poundage in word count.

To be frank, I don’t think my flowery bits are what is causing so much fat. Actually its the simple fact that, even though I have been committed and faithful in sharing AG since its conception, it is still a first draft.

I, not even an hour ago, had to tell myself to just keep writing and not to look back until I type “The End.” The reason being is that I can fix all of the issues and trim away the excess once everything is fully laid out on the table, or in this case, on the computer screen.

Etta is still telling her tale, as is her gorgeous husband.

So if I could leave any advice for other writers who may be facing similar quirks and nerves, it would be these few things:

  1. Just keep writing: First drafts don’t have to be perfect, they just have to BE in order to be worked into something incredible.
  2. Don’t make the story into something that it is not: There is a saying in the visual art world that is, “Create what you see, not what you think you see.” In the case of writing, “Write what you see, not what you wish to see for convenience.” If you want to derail your stories authenticity and originality, try to fit it into a mold that makes you “comfortable,” but totally contradicts what the characters are laying out for you.
  3. TRUST THE PLOT TO WORK ITSELF OUT!: If you story seems to have a conflict that has you uncertain about how it is going to resolve itself, don’t worry, if you follow your muse and honor point #2 the resolution will reveal itself at the appropriate time. For more on this click HERE to read my post called, “Where You Are, Where You Are Going: Plot Conflict Resolutions.”
  4. Don’t mind the word count…too much: (Obviously, 200k is a lot to manage for a reader and even a writer at times.) Just write what the story is telling you in ALL the words that it tells you the first time around. You can trim and polish later.
  5. Just have fun:What other reason is there for writing fiction besides to have fun?

Cheers to you, and all those extra words!

Happy novel writing.

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