Monday, November 14, 2011

NaNoWriMo Lesson #1: Stats Induce Panic

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So far, the writing for NaNoWriMo is going very well. I've managed at least 2,000 words per day (beginning on the 6th, when I was finally able to begin work), and I'm meeting my personal goals for this.

Even better, I really like my story. The main character is fervent, passionate, and rebellious--all things I am on the inside, even if they exhibit themselves very little on the outside. And her love interest, well, he's blisteringly handsome and as passionate about his purpose in life as she is. Did I tell you she was a mermaid? And he was a British ship's captain? And that all of this was occurring in the Caribbean during the mid-1830's? Yup, costumes, fighting, underwater stuff--it's all there.

Each day, as I finish the necessary 2,000+ words, I enter my new number diligently in the NaNoWriMo website. And there is my problem. I click on my Novel Stats, and there I get a glimpse of my progress through their meters. Sure, I'm doing fine, but the meters don't take into account my late start. After the first day or so, I was projected to finish the novel on February 14th. February 14th!! Aack!

Of course, the day after that took it to January something... and now I'm supposed to finish on December 6. And my little chart shows my word count slowly moving up to meet the line of expectation. I know, logically, why I haven't met it yet. I do. I swear I do.

I just can't quell the gut check I feel every time I see I'm not there yet, that panicky lurch in my stomach when I realize it's HALFWAY THROUGH NOVEMBER and I'M NOT HALFWAY THROUGH MY BOOK! EEK!

Why are my expectations so unreasonable?

Then again, I noticed my Municipal Liaison (the person who helps coordinate all us Georgia people who don't fit into any metropolitan area) has already written OVER 50,000 words. I congratulated him, and he replied, "I just need to finish the darn story now! That's my trouble every year."Even the successful ones--who have reached 50,000 words before the midpoint of the month, mind you--seem to expect more out of themselves.

Perhaps that's not so bad. I still ADORE writing the book. Sometimes it's been tricky fitting it into my day of chores (Damn you, laundry! Dishes again?), but I'd rather write on my novel than do pretty much anything else (Zumba excepted). And lofty goals help--without them, I wouldn't have a single novel written.

What about you? Goals? Expectations? Or do you just fly by the seat of your pants, living in the moment?


  1. Shakes if you cut and paste today's post into your novel you will only have slightly more than 1500 words to write.

    You already know my goals
    1) Go sleep breathing
    2) wake up in same condition I went to bed in.

    Beyond that I fill the time between 2 & 1 in one way or another.

  2. You are making fabulous progress! 2,000 words a day is incredible. And your story sounds SO GOOD. You are totally going to make it in time. My goals have all been revising-related.

  3. The big thing, and this can't be measured by any stats, is that you 12,000 words in and still love the book.
    It's the passion that makes the book, not the word count.

  4. Stats are only good if they help you keep track and/or motivated. Just like diets and the monitoring attached.

    If they start to eat into your enthusiasm, they've outlived their usefulness.

  5. Just keep writing and don't worry about the numbers. They come. Don't be worrying about "finishing" the book, either. Your story might well be a lot longer than 50K. I did Nano is 2009 and got to 75K in the month, but it took the next YEAR to finish the book at 138K. What you're doing is great, you are enjoying it, and gravitating towards it... and I know you'll win!

  6. I just keep writing. Thinking about starting book 2 of my trilogy before I publish book 1. lol