Progress report: One Million Words, week 19

NaNoWriMo is certainly doing my wordcounts some good. This week I’ve written 8,599 words in total, including three days writing over 1,667 words. My daily average for this week is 1,228 words.

My One Million Words challenge total stands at 80,568/1,000,000, or 8.06%.

My NaNoWriMo total is 25,605/50,000, or 51.21%.

Day by day summary

Monday: 1,197 words

Tuesday: 876 words

Wednesday: 1734 words

Thursday: 1705 words

Friday: 637 words

Saturday: 413 words

Sunday: 2037 words.

Analysis

I’ve made a graph to show my progress so far this month:

NaNoWriMo graph 23 Nov 2015

The orange line really does need to be above the green one most of the time, and it isn’t, so that’s a problem I’m going to have to fix in the final week of the challenge.

Last week I said I would set aside Monday and Thursday for writing. That didn’t end up happening, for a variety of reasons, but I did at least manage to top 1,667 on Thursday and I managed over 2,000 on Sunday.

As far as NaNoWriMo is concerned, it is looking like I might not make it. I’d have to write as much in the 8 days remaining as I have in the 22 day to this point, and I don’t think I can do that – especially with chapter 4 unplanned. But I think I’m okay with that. Even without 50,000 words, I’ve written quite a bit more than I might have if I hadn’t attempted it. The IRC chats for my home region have been really motivating, and the word wars have helped me push past difficult sections.

As far as the story is concerned, pushing like this is helping it come out, and there’s a fair bit less crossed out than in my last attempt at this story, but when December comes I will have a lot of editing to do, and quite possibly some serious rewriting. NaNoWriMo is helping me get a first draft down, but the structure is a bit all over the place. There are definitely passages I will keep, but there are other bits I will need to scrap, move around, trim, refine, expand, add foundations for, and so on.

I’ve got something here. I’m taking unrefined ore and turning it into ingots of metal, but the editing process is what will turn the metal into something beautiful.

As the graph shows, I have managed to keep my daily average above 1,000 words for much of the month so far. I don’t find it particularly difficult to do. Sure, there are individual days when I’ve got too much on, I’m too exhausted, to come close to 1,000 words, but other days I’ve done well enough to keep momentum. Going forward into December, I will try to maintain that average. It’ll take about two hours of writing per day.

I have definitely found the word war approach to be helpful. In the past I have attempted the Pomodoro technique, which involves blocks of 25 minutes working, separated by 5 minute breaks. I think this is too punishing for writing (though may be ideal for other activities). The word wars, however, have provided a good structure to my writing. In my region, we’ve had wars that are 15 minutes long, with breaks of between 10 and 20 minutes between them, during which time we’ve talked about writing, helped each other with plot, and generally relaxed. After three wars I’ve needed a longer break.

With ongoing writing, I might look into codifying this structure into my approach. After November the word wars will stop, but I can continue to use 15 minute timers to block out my writing time, with hour and a half blocks separated by half an hour or more.

Take away points

  • Working at this rate is helpful for creating a first draft, but I will need to put a lot more work into editing to get to the final product.
  • Working in a 15-minutes-on, 15-minutes off structure seems to suit me, and I’ll continue with that after NaNoWriMo finishes.
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