Tag Archives: Writing

NaNoWriMo Update: In Which I Totally Kick Ass.

I win! My winning word count, as verified by the word-counting gnomes at NaNoWriMo headquarters in Oakland, California is 50,073.  Here it is in bar graph form:

Breezeway Blows Town, Day 28:

50073 / 50000 words. 100% done!

So, to be clear: Me. Winner.  I have already performed the butt-shaking victory dance for the children, so you know it’s official.

I’m going to get more written tomorrow and Monday before the deadline, so this is not my final total word count, but the pressure is off, and I have more real work to do.  I’m already thinking about my goals for December, with the ultimate goal of finishing the first draft (which I expect to be around 80-90,000 words) by the end of January.  Sometime next week I’ll try to post my thoughts on the whole experience while they’re still fresh, but as my podcasting Canadian writing buddy John Mierau tweeted the other day, the best part of NaNoWriMo has been writing like the professionals do, planting our butts in our seats in front of our keyboards, day in, day out, whether we felt like it or not, and getting the story written.

For now, though, there’s a turkey on the grill and a bottle of good champagne we scored at a silent auction years ago in the fridge.  Not to mention a new batch of cookies fresh out of the oven.

NaNoWriMo Update: T-910 Words!

Way too pumped to write much of a post here, but my total NaNoWriMo word count is now at a massive, artery-clogging 49,090.  Let’s see how this looks on a bar graph, shall we:

Breezeway Blows Town, Day 28:

49090 / 50000 words. 98% done!

Yes, that’s 98% done! Despite the occasional tickle fight, shouts of “Figgy pudding!” (the funniest phrase in the English language), helping Junior a little with his train set, and helping Unfocused Girl clean up her box of beads after I accidentally walked into it (oops), I knocked out just under 3,000 words today — for a total of 49,090, did I mention that? — and now have less than 1,000 words to go before I can declare myself a winner and do the dance of TOTAL VICTORY!

Excuse me, I need a moment.

Thank you.  I have also started considering the possibility of post-NaNoWriMo let down.  What will I do when I no longer have my time filled by generating 2000-3000 words of fiction almost single day?  How will I deal with the adrenaline crash?  I suspect everyone has their own way of coping after NaNo ends.  Me, I suspect I will handle it by eating cookies.

As if our December wasn’t going to be crazy enough, the Siren is back to her blog with a plan that makes NaNoWriMo look positively sedate.  Mmm, tasty, tasty insanity.

NaNoWriMo and Word Count Update: 46,119.

A productive day: 3300 words, plus a work call and a nap. I’m rounding third and heading for home:

Breezeway Blows Town, Day 27:

46119 / 50000 words. 92% done!

NaNoWriMo Update & Word Count, Day 26: 42,760.

We were invited to the home of some good friends for a merging of the families for Thanksgiving dinner, and thus had very little to do in advance.  Despite minor distractions from the Macy’s parade on TV and changing batteries in Junior’s Geotrax train set, I managed 2000 words, to get me to a very respectable total, just a few hundred words behind pace:

Breezeway Blows Town, Day 26:

42760 / 50000 words. 86% done!

Careening towards 50,000 words and the end of NaNoWriMo, although nowhere near done with the first draft, which I figure will come out to 80-90K in the end.

We had a very relaxed Thanksgiving, in pajamas until 1pm then got dressed and joined our friends for a ridiculously immoderate feast.  We finally left around 11pm because the kids cracked and admitted they were tired.

Hope your Thanksgiving was as good, or for those outside the U.S., hope you had a wonderful Thursday.

NaNoWriMo Update and Word Count, Day 20: 31,148.

On Thursday, while I was out of town, the Siren was called to Unfocused Girl’s school to pick her up; she had a fever and chills.  The pediatrician finally diagnosed H1N1 over the phone at 2:15 Friday morning based on her symptoms. She was a little better on Friday — at least the vomiting had stopped and the fever was under some kind of control — but when I got home Friday evening with a stack of comic books I’d picked up from a store near the Des Moines airport, she was too wiped out to read them.  She slept through the night, though, and this morning came downstairs for breakfast and asked to go to taekwondo (the answer was no, BTW). I think she’s already read all the comics.

National Novel Writing Month is two-thirds over, and for the first time all month, I’m significantly behind.  I started Week Three with a sizable margin; I was 2,000 words ahead of pace by Monday night.  I did manage to get around 1,300 words written on Tuesday, but it was a 14-hour day and completely wiped me out.  Wednesday morning I was up early and hit the road, driving a hundred miles west for a hearing, then back straight to O’Hare to fly to Iowa for depositions.

Wednesday and Thursday were also 14-15 hour days.  I managed a 15-minute word sprint each day, 300-400 words, so that I wouldn’t lose all of my momentum, but that was all the time I could steal.  Friday wasn’t quite as long, but I was so wiped out that I fell asleep on the plane after about 200 words, the last of which was the letter r typed 699 times.  When I got home and we got the kids to bed, I faceplanted onto the kitchen counter in front of the open laptop, and finally the Siren was able to convince me to go to bed.

At the end of Friday night, I was 2,148 words behind; the furthest behind I’ve been before this was just a few hundred words at the end of week two, and I was totally caught up, even a little ahead, by the end of Saturday.  Since I would have to write 3,852 words today to be caught up at the end of the day today, I don’t think that’s going to happen.  If I can catch up by Sunday night I’ll be delighted but very surprised.  My guess it that it will be Monday or Tuesday before I’m all the way back on pace.  If you’re interested in a word war, either using Write or Die Desktop Edition or just on Twitter, email or DM me on Twitter and we’ll set it up; I could use the help.

Breezeway Blows Town, Day 20:

31148 / 50000 words. 62% done!

If you’re in the area of the Des Moines airport and you have time or need for a comfortable internet cafe and/or comic book store, I enthusiastically recommend Cup o’ Kryptonite. Comfy couches, wifi, some connected desktop computers, a decent comic selection and helpful, friendly staff.

NaNoWriMo Update, Day 15: 26,755 Words.

I hit the 25,000-word halfway point for Breezeway Blows Town today.  I hit the 25K mark, rolled right over it, and kept going for another full day’s worth of words.  I’m going to need that cushion this week; things are going to be busy at work.

My total word count for the weekend was 5,300.  I made up my deficit and got just a little ahead on Saturday, calling it quits for the evening at 23,733.  Today I wrote just over 3000 words, my highest single-day word count for the month, and probably my highest fiction word count for 2009.

I am definitely starting to feel the lack of physical activity.  Between my lunchtime writing and staying up too late writing to have the energy to get up in time for a pre-work run, I haven’t been exercising nearly as much as I’m used to, or as I’d like.  I’ve been going with the kids to taekwondo on Saturday mornings, and this week I managed one short morning run on Wednesday and a slow 5.64 mile run — ok, jog — this morning, but that just isn’t enough.  A few weeks ago a bought a couple different decks of FitDeck cards, and brought the set for bodyweight exercises down into the study. Each card has a different exercise you can do, pretty much on the floor wherever you are, for about a minute without any equipment.  I flipped over a new card every 500-1000 words and did whatever exercise turned up (except for any that required more room than I have available in the study). It kept me a little sharper and got me up from the keyboard and moving. It seems silly to even comment about 3-4 minutes of extra exercise each day, but during NaNoWriMo, with all of the extra time spent in front of the computer, I think it makes a difference.  At least, I’m pretending it does.

I also abandoned the Siren to the kids — both of them cranky and not feeling so hot — more than I should have.  She’s been incredibly supportive the last two weeks, and probably deserved better than for me to spend most of the afternoon in the study with the door closed and noise cancelling headphones on.  I should bring her some chocolate.

But before I do, here’s the word count widget showing my kickass word count:

Breezeway Blows Town, Day 15:

26755 / 50000 words. 54% done!

NaNoWriMo inspiration: I’ve been listening to a lot of Dead Robots’ Society lately, catching up on back episodes.  DRS is a podcast by three (usually) writers who are farther along than I am — they’ve each completed multiple novels, at least one has podcast it, they’ve had short stories published — but have not been published commercially yet.  They’re an interesting group, and while I haven’t been interested in every episode I’ve started, I finish far more of them than I drop.  I don’t know if any of the hosts are specifically doing NaNoWriMo, but they talk about the same issues all of us WriMos struggle with every day in November (and hopefully most of the rest of the year).  They don’t always make it, but these guys are shooting to accomplish something approaching NaNo every month.  Well worth a listen.

The Full NaNo! Maybe. Also, Word Count as of Day 13: 21,455.

Days 12 and 13 were not good days for my NaNoWriMo novel; I wrote about 350 words on Thursday, and 225 on Friday.  Work — that thing they pay me to do — leaped up and bit me on the ass.  I was a couple of thousand words ahead of pace for the full NaNo when I went to bed Wednesday night.  Now (Saturday morning) I’m starting Day 14 a couple hundred words behind.  Not too bad, really; I’ll catch up and build a little cushion again this weekend.  I’m going to need it; this is going to be a rough week at work.

Even with that pressure, I think it’s fair to say that I’m putting aside the Half-Assed NaNoWriMo goal of 25,000 words that I made my initial commitment.  Ever since the Siren got passed over for grand jury service on November 2, I’ve thought I might be able to handle the full 50K, and so far, I’ve been able to stay on pace for it (less 211 words).  So I’m dropping the “Half-Assed,” and committing to make a run at doing the full 50,000, with the understanding that between a rough few weeks coming at work, plus the holiday, there’s a good chance I fall short.  I’ve hung in there so far, and I may as well take the shot.  Even if I don’t get there, I’m going to get a heck of a lot farther than 25,000 words; my real goal has always been to get a running start at Breezeway Blows Town, and that I’ve already accomplished — I’m very happy with how it’s turning out so far, and the NaNo goal has kept me at the keyboard and rebuilt my discipline.  With that in mind, here’s my word count widget with the new goal number:

Breezeway Blows Town, Day 13:

21455 / 50000 words. 43% done!

Doyce Testerman is posting daily NaNoWriMo tips on his blog, many of the motivational sort.  If you’re getting bogged down during the long dark tea-time of the soul that Weeks Two and Three can be, check out his site.

HANaNoWriMo Day 11 Update, Word Count Total: 20,879.

Breezeway Blows Town, Day 11:

20879 / 25000 words. 84% done!

Got a little more than 2500 words done today, which is damn good for a weekday.  I even took a short run this morning, which I desperately needed.  Things are crazy at work, but otherwise, everything’s going pretty well, so of course I’m waiting for a meteor to land on my head.

The Australian writing and publishing podcast The Creative Penn recently ran an interview with Mur Lafferty, with tips for NaNoWriMo, which is well worth a listen.  In the next episode, she interviewedJ.C. Hutchins, author of the Seventh Son podcast trilogy, with the first book just released in print — J.C. mentioned that he started writing the trilogy during NaNo around 2002.

HANaNoWriMo Day 10 Word Count Total: 18,353.

After a couple of days where the writing seemed to bog down a little, I think I worked through a couple of tricky plot points and got my momentum back today and burned through just over 2000 today.  Pretty damn good for a week day, especially during Week Two. NaNoWriMo conventional wisdom is that Week Two is usually a complete disaster; it’s only Tuesday, but so far, so good.

Breezeway Blows Town, Day 10:

18353 / 25000 words. 73% done!

Fellow Wrimos or writers may already be familiar with Write or Die on the web, a sprint timer for writing that plays awful sounds or actually deletes your writing if you pause or go to slowly before the clock runs out.  Now for a nominal fee, you can download the Write or Die Desktop Edition, with all of the functionality of the web version plus the ability to save your text directly from WoD (instead of copying and pasting into a word processor or text editor) and to engage in real-time word wars with other users.  I bought the Desktop Edition the day it came out (no freebies in exchange for promotional blogging, I should note) and have used it several times to boost my daily wordcount.  I haven’t engaged in live word war yet, but I am open to challenges.

HANaNoWriMo Day 9, Total Word Count: 16,321.

No time for much of a post tonight, but I hit 15,000 this morning and 16,321 words tonight, leaving me a margin of more than 1,300 ahead of where I need to be.  Here’s the graphic for those of you who need a visual aid:

Breezeway Blows Town, Day 9:

16321 / 25000 words. 65% done!

NaNoWriMo tip:  Geek Survival Guide is running daily NaNo tips this month, plus how to evade space vampires and more!