Tomorrow is November 1st and the start of NaNoWriMo , or ‘Write a book in November’. If you want to see me get really het up, fling the words NaNo WrioMo at me or even worse, ‘Write a Book in a Week.’
Yes, I know this idea is to get people into the habit of writing every day but so often it ends up as a competition of ‘I wrote 5,000 words today’, which is quickly countered by someone who reports they wrote ‘10,000.’ And you know what? I can’t compete. I just can’t write 50K in four short weeks.
Yesterday I finished my 17th Harlequin Medical Romance (50K) and I’ve also written two 100K single titles. I have NEVER written a book in a month and this is why.
Back on August 18th I started the book and I had ten weeks to write it. I’ve been calling for want of a better name, ‘My Argentine Guy’. He’s pretty gorgeous so it seemed enough. 🙂 I got off to flying start for me by writing 1000 words. This was a huge . Seriously. First day of writing often is less than 500 words. Thirteen days later, having worked eleven of those days I had 7,171 clean words… that is 561 words a day.
Do you see why I am an NaNoWriMo Grinch? Starting is hard for me I have to get to know my characters. I frequently sit down and have no idea what they are going to do next and my only guiding light is their belief they hold about themselves.
Thirty days has September and I wrote on twenty-six of those days. By the end of September I had 24,750 words ….which works out to be 676 words a day. I was up to page 100 and I have five other pages of notes which I’ve included in the word count because they ended up in the book in some shape or form. I had 31 days left to write more words than I had written in 38 days.
Fifteen days later with only sixteen days until the book was due I was at 34,360 words having only advanced 10K, which is still about 600 words a day and I am writing for a full working day here. It isn’t like I am just at the computer for a couple of hours!!
And the book wasn’t working. I had no clear idea of how my heroine was going to get her epiphany. I hauled out pen and paper, I made charts, I re-read what I had written twice and I highlighted their emotional journeys. I was horrible to my husband, I was irritable with everyone and I had a bright red light over my head flashing, ‘deadline, deadline deadline.’
I also had a part of my brain saying, ‘trust your process.’ In the past I have written books in ten weeks, in fact that is the time I allow to write one. Once I shaved off a week but generally I make it in ten. It does mean it’s tight for me though.
By October 22nd I had turned a corner. I was up to 42,122 words, a whooping 1100 words a day. The last week I wrote 9500 words, bringing my average for that week up to 1357 words day. I spent Saturday and Sunday doing a final read and now it has gone.
Why have I written this post? To say that my process is mine and that your process is yours. Word counts are NOT everything. Finishing a well crafted book is everything and often that is achieved not by pumping out words but sometimes by reflecting. I worry for unpublished authors that they feel they have to write fast and then beat themselves up when they don’t reach a word target. The muse isn’t always going to oblige and I find on the days she coughs up a lot of words, the next day is a writing bust.
So yeah, I’m not joining NoWriMo because I can’t write a book in a month, but I can write a clean ready to go book in ten weeks. I probably should allow eleven….