NaNoWriMo – mid-month progress report

After the near-effortless progress of the first week, I expected the second week to go just as easily. But my progress is slowing and I’m finding it more difficult to hit my daily goal.

The mathematics of NaNoWriMo are pretty simple: you have to average a shade over 1,666 words per day in order to hit the overall goal of 50,000 words in the month. At the start I told myself I’d aim for 2,000 words a day to be safe.

Currently I estimate my word count to be 20,127 words1. At halfway through NaNoWriMo, I’ve averaged 1,341.8 words a day and am 4,863 words behind where I’d ideally like to be.

Part of the problem is that I never managed to catch up the ground I lost last weekend, but the bigger issue is that I’m in an area of the story that I hadn’t planned out in detail beforehand, so I’m having to make more choices about what to actually write. A new character has also muscled his way into the plot, completely unplanned and unbidden. It’s been a busy week at work. At times I wonder if the whole idea is nonsense, or if my execution is poor because I’m rushing through the draft. All these factors conspire to make hitting my daily target just that bit more difficult.

But this is all part of the NaNo experience and, in a way, the whole point. It doesn’t have to be good; the point is to write at speed without second-guessing yourself.2

I don’t know if I’ll hit 50K by the end of the month but it is getting me back into the habit of sitting down and writing fiction by hand every day, which can only be a good thing.

  1. I’m writing this draft by hand, so this is not an exact figure. I know I write an average of nine words per line so I’m using this as a basis for my calculation. 
  2. There’s a related issue of whether material written in such conditions should be published, but that’s a question for another piece. I’ve come to believe that exercising restraint is more important than the urge to just get your work out there – which is easier now than ever before, but that doesn’t mean it’s always the right thing to do. 

By Alex Roddie

Award-winning outdoor and nature writer, editor, author, and photographer.

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