• Alyssa Rogan

It's been one week since NaNoWriMo started; here's how I'm coping so far

For the first time ever, I decided that I wanted to participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) this year. Since I'm writing in a new genre at a pace I've never before endeavored (50,000 words by November 30th), I wanted to give a quick update on how things are going.

Admittedly, I started writing on October 31. It was a Saturday and I had the whole day free so I thought, why wait an extra day? Don't tell anyone that, though. I guess I'm going to finish on November 29th (God-willing) to make up for it. I have zero regrets, though, because I wrote a whopping 2,500 words and typically I manage about 1,000 words a day.

On the second day (oops, I mean the official day one of Nano, November 1st), I wrote another 1,700 words. In order to write 50,000 words in one month, you must average 1,667 words a day, so I started out a tad above the curve. In the chart below, the light blue line depicts what my month will look like if I write 1,667 words a day; the dark blue light is what I've actually written.

As you can see, my word count has generally slipped every day and I'm currently a little behind, but I think I have a reasonable excuse for being distracted.

I still have plenty of time to catch up, though, and have no doubt that I will. I need to stop watching the news so I can get my concentration back.

If you didn't read my previous post, this book is a contemporary middle-grade novel that takes place in 2008 (the year I started seventh grade). I don't plan on publishing it. Rather, it is for pure enjoyment and entertainment purposes. It's a trip down a memory lane sprinkled with sparkly vampires who fall in love with plain teenage girls, Justin Bieber's mop haircut, and the first black president.

Anyway, I started out enjoying it. It was easy to generate a higher-than-average-word count because most of it is coming from a place of lived experience. I hardly had to think about it. The more I wrote, though, the more I realized this might become a problem.

If this book is so easy to write, am I even challenging myself? The goal is to write 50,000 words in a month. For my previous book, I wrote at a pace of about 10,000 words a month because that's all my brain had the capacity for. With this book, I fear I'm generating a whole lot of nonsense. Quantity over quality.

If I'm not publishing it, then why should it matter? I ask myself. Can't I just let myself have fun writing something self-indulgent? The answer is yes, of course I can--but do I really want to spend a month on a subpar manuscript that won't see the light of day? Especially if I'm... bored?

There. I said it. Bored.

It turns out easier books aren't as fun to write. This is only half of it, though. I think I'm a little bored because I'm not as attached to this book or the characters. I've managed to emotionally distance myself from my previous book (which I completed the first draft of on October 22), but maybe not enough to write this new book. I guess I'm a one-project-at-a-time kinda girl.

I'm not gonna give up on this project just yet, though. I'll decide later on whether or not it's worth my time. Either way, I'm not gonna stress about it. Maybe I just don't like writing for myself anymore.

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