NaNoWriMo November 2022: New Book Project
Writing a novel can be difficult, or at least that seems to be the case every time I sit down to start a new one. So this year, as I work on finishing a sequel to my debut novel, it seemed that there was no better way to kick off a new project than to do so with NaNoWriMo.
NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month, is an annual challenge extended to authors every November to write a novel in a month. This 50,000 words in 30 days challenge is taken up by all sorts of writers, some who may be starting out and some who are already bestselling authors. I encourage you to visit the website, sign up, and get involved. They offer an array of useful tools which can help you achieve your own creative goals.
My first experience with the challenge was in 2018 and I had been struggling to finish a novel. Using the challenge then helped me write and ultimately finish a novel I’d been struggling to write for years. Since then, I have been almost completely engrossed in writing The Ballad of Sorrows, which I am still working on. As I go through the editing process of book 2 of that series, I felt the need to start a new creative project which can help give a bit more balance to my writing life. This way I can always work on something new, even when I am editing and working on the production/design aspects of books that are close to being released.
November 2022 Challenge
I have spent the better part of 3 years working on the same series. While I am no where near done playing around in that world and with those characters, I felt the need to expand my horizons and to write something different. I always have a hundred ideas bouncing around in my head and as a fan of Urban Fantasy, I had an idea for a new stand alone novel. While I am just playing around with a new idea, it seemed that this year was the perfect opportunity to start and finish a new novel in the month of November. (Or at least get 50,000 words done. My novels tend to be two or three times that size.)
For anyone looking to write 50,000 words in 30 days, you will need to write 1,667 words every day to reach that goal. I like to keep track of my daily writing by timing myself with a stopwatch as well as tracking the starting and ending wordcount of my project. This has given me a rather good sense of how long it takes me to write and with my average writing speed of 26 words per minute, I will need to write for 1:04 minutes every day to reach the daily goal. All things considered, that is a rather attainable goal.
Let’s be honest, that’s not always feasible. Especially if you are a writer with a full time day job, a family, and perhaps a social life. Things are going to come up, make it hard to find the time every day to write, or perhaps we may be having a bad day. I have found that setting a minimum word count that is attainable even on the worst day has helped me make steady progress. I set my own minimum word count at 500 words per day which is about 19 minutes of writing. I have found that even on the days where writing feels like pulling teeth, I can at least make a smidgeon of progress in the right direction.
Tracking Time and Wordcount
Why track time and word count? It may not seem to matter much how long it takes as long as the words get finished. I used to think this way and still do from time to time. It can be frustrating to watch the timer tick by as you stare at your screen fighting to figure out the next sentence. It makes sense to do everything in your power to make the writing process and nice as possible. But I found something that makes the added stress of timing oneself worth it. I figured out how long it takes me to write a book. Knowing how much time I need to set aside to accomplish my writing goals by a deadline has only become possible because I know (with close approximation) how many hours I will need to sit down at my keyboard and write.
How do I track? I built out a google sheet to track the following:
This sheet is my accountability doc. I track the day so I know which days I wrote and which days I did not. I know which version of my book and what chapter(s) I am working on. I track my time and word count. I also built out some rather simple logic in the sheet to auto tally my total words. In column G, I wrote the following: =(f2-e2). This simple formula can be dragged down column G and will automatically calculate how many words you wrote that day. Once the new day starts, I take the previous days ending word count, put it in the current days starting word count, and begin again. One final thing I have is a WPM (words per minute) column which I manually calculate ever day. That was something I found to be useful and it is how I was able to calculate my own average writing speed of 26.13 words per minute.
The final Notes column is something I added during my last novel. I tend to delete sections or try new things as I am writing. I like to keep track of these smaller things or perhaps leave notes on how I felt the days writing went. I don’t really do anything with that information, but I find it to be fun to look back and see what my thoughts were during the creative process. It’s sort of like my mini book journal.
I track every single one of my projects this way and hope that you can find your own way that makes you more productive. At the end of the day, as long as you are writing, that’s all that matters.
I am terrible at coming up with titles for my books. It’s much easier for me to find a title once the book is finished, but doing so beforehand is a struggle. So, this new project shall be dubbed: Scheming Pegasus. I already setup my project in the NaNoWriMo dashboard.
If you are interested in joining in on the fun, feel free to add me. On the dashboard, we can see each others progress and it’s always more fun working together. You can check out my page here. Remember, you will need to have an account to view my profile and add me.
My Username: Banish Creative
Holding Myself Accountable
When you have someone who can help you be accountable for your goals, you may get the extra encouragement you need to put in the work and make it through when the going gets tough. I will be working with another writing friend this November and we will be holding each other accountable so we complete our 50,000 words. I will also be taking it one step further and create another post at the end of NaNoWriMo so everyone can see how it went. Wither I succeed or fail, it seems only fair that I post my experience.
For all of you who are starting your own projects, wither you are participating in National Writing Month or not, remember to have fun and good luck on your project!