NaNo Midway Point

Okay, people. This will be short today because I can’t be wasting my word count on a blog post. Some of you are nodding because you understand. Some of you won’t read this post until December. I understand that too.

For those of you in the dark, I’m talking about NaNoWriMo—National Novel Writing Month.


Like Veterans Day and Thanksgiving, it happens every November. You commit to writing a 50,000-word novel. That’s it. That’s all. It’s very simple. Right?! Can I get an AMEN?

This year I started off strong, mostly because my local chapter (WRW) had a first annual write-in on November 1st. My kids had soccer games and other activities previously scheduled. If I had followed the same pattern as every other November 1st, I probably wouldn’t have written a word that day. Instead, when Kathy Seidel opened her home to fifty chapter members, I jumped at the chance. I knew if I committed far enough in advance, I would follow through with my goal of starting the book. So I farmed out my kids for the day. I missed a soccer tournament and several of my other kids’ activities as well.

Did I feel guilty? Hell no! I wrote almost 3,000 words that first day, which kicked off a rather successful NaNo month for me.

Up until recently, that is. At 38,000 words, I’m starting to stumble. Starting to lose my way. Starting to think about all the plot points that don’t make sense. Starting to wonder how the hell I’m going to wrap this thing up.

It’s at this midway point where I start realizing all the things wrong with the plot. It’s usually at the midway point where I finally get a decent grasp of a character’s motivations, his or her personality, the setting, the tone. But the characters didn’t start out that way. So I have to gag my inner critic/editor who wants to rush back to the beginning and start fixing.

But I need to finish the damn book. I also have to obsess about word count. I have to keep refreshing that stats page on the NaNo website so I can watch the graph rise. (Admit it! You do it too!) I have to check out my writing buddies and see how they’re doing.
That inner editor itches to go back and start fixing the beginning. But if I do, I could potentially lose word count.

So I’m pressing ahead. I. Will. Finish. This. Book.

Normally, I wouldn’t be stressed about the potential awfulness of this first draft, but I have another problem. Her name is Margie Lawson.  I signed up for an Immersion class beginning next week, hosted by Denny Mermaid, where we deep edit our story, and I plan to work on this NaNo book.

Now, I’m sure I can sift through the 50,000 words of the new book and come out with a few that are keepers, but usually large chunks hit the virtual trash can.

I set a goal for myself to finish this book before next Wednesday, which is a far cry from the other years, where I have generally slid under the finish line—dusty and tired—at the last minute. But what a ride!

Who’s doing NaNo this year? If so, how are you doing? Here’s your place to brag or seek commiseration. Here’s the place to admit you feel some word-count envy when you see your writing buddy’s graph rising every day when you stumble into your own road block.

When you do hit that writer’s block, reach out to your writing friends. Ask for help. A fifteen-minute brainstorming session could easily get you back on the right road. That’s what writing friends are for.

GH 2014 photo

25 thoughts on “NaNo Midway Point

  1. I’ve been doing great, although I spent the last year revising three books, so I find it’s harder to turn off my inner editor this year. Good luck and have fun in Margie’s class.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Stephanie! I know what you mean about the revising. I’m in the same boat. I’ve spent so much time revising this past year that I’m having trouble turning off my inner editor as well. 😉
      Good luck to you!
      NaNo on!

  2. I have the utmost respect for you NaNo people who can churn out words faster than I can delete them.

    This November, I’m deleting words – 10,000 of them, trimming a 98k manuscript to a more manageable 88k. It hurts — and not just hitting the delete key. Some of my carefully crafted sentences are as annoying as squeaky Styrofoam (my personal equivalent of nails on a chalkboard). It’s been a year since I looked at this MS and time has given me enough distance to see all its warts.

    I wrote that? And that? Sweet nine-pound baby Jesus, what was I thinking? More importantly, how did this book ever, ever sell?

    Good luck, Kim, with your sprints and your graphs and your ever-growing word count. I’m off to cut.

    1. Julie,
      I’m trying (on a perfectly perfect writing day) to write my NaNo book in the day and revise my other one at night. Like I said…on a perfect day. 🙂
      Good luck with the deleting. That’s always so hard for me. That’s what I’m doing with the one in the evening. Wish I could throw those words into the new manuscript. haha.
      But, sweet nine-pound baby Jesus, it’s hard. LOL!!!
      We still need to figure out how to get that expression into all of our books. haha.
      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Wow! I’ve got 18,000 of the ugliest words in humankind history. So you are killing it at 38,000 (Miss Margie or no:)…but yeah. I remember the days when November was Thanksgiving month. Now – it’s hell week after hell week, and yeah, so wasting words here. Must cut and paste them into draft. Could be a scene where my heroine is reminiscing about her youth and NaNoWrimo, right? All characters do that in November at one point…sigh…back to work. Margie will be here a week from today!

    1. You crack me up, Denny!
      Yeah. I was trying to figure out how I could use my words in this blog post in my official word count. lol.
      Can’t wait until the immersion class. One more week. A few days to finish this damn book, and then a few days to try to polish the first couple chapters so she doesn’t run for the hills. **cliche alert** lol

  4. I’m starting Nano halfway through the month, so not doing it officially…but yeah. Ugliest words ever in the history of book-writing? Let’s have a contest. I’m sure I’ll win, hands-down. But I’m not wasting any more words. Off to write 5000!

    1. Good luck with your 5,000 words! I once started in the second week of NaNo and still finished. Of course, I may finish in two weeks if I can get my act together in the next couple days. 🙂 You can do it!!!

  5. I don’t do NaNo. I’m a free spirit, a butterfly, I do what the goddesses direct me to do…or something like that. I don’t know. I just do my own thing, okay? And it works. And all those stressors you mentioned–the word count, the stats, the constant glancing over your shoulder to see what others are doing? Would make me break out in hives. Like, everywhere. Between my toes and behind my knees. It’s super comfy in my cave, with my steaming mug of chai, the fall colors out my window, and Vivaldi playing quietly in the background. And today I get to pick my next hero! So there will be no counting words, just checking out sculpted backsides. Good luck, Kim! Glad you’re back in it!

    1. You are too, too funny. Free spirit? Butterfly? You, my dear, are a wise woman. There’s no escaping it – so enjoy your tea and Vivaldi and backsides – but know if I need advice I’m calling you!

    2. Erika,
      Just a dream-weavin’ little butterfly. You’re adorable! 🙂
      Yeah, I THINK I’m back in it. We’ll see how much the book sucks at the end of the month. haha.
      I’m jealous of your writing life. Seriously. Butterflies. Chai. Vivaldi. Sparkly unicorns. You’ve got it all.
      Go check out some sculpted backsides for me too. Have I got a great story for that….remind me someday.

  6. Erika, you dreamweaver you…(I couldn’t help it). Now off to get in my 5000 or so words. I don’t want to get left in the dust…lol…but please look at a backside or two for me. Okay?

  7. Not doing NaNo this year because I’m finishing up and editing two different manuscripts. So I’m still feeling the NaNo-ish heat.

    Good luck, Kim-Mermaid – you can definitely do this!!!!!

  8. Doing NaNo for the first time this year. It took me a year and a half to write the first 30k words in my first novel. I’m using NaNo to kick my butt and make me finish the thing. So far I’m at 22,687 which for me is amazingly productive. (My web clients are a little peeved that I am taking November off, but oh well.)

    The hardest part is not editing as I go. So the words, the sentences, the paragraphs aren’t at the same quality as I usually get when I finish a scene. But they’re THERE. I’m working with a book coach; she reviews as I go. Usually we would leapfrog: she’s reviewing scene 1 while I write scene 2; I send her 2 and go back and edit 1 and then move on to 3, etc. Now I just stick her review notes in the Doc Notes in Scrivener and keep on going.

    1. You go! That’s awesome that you’re taking some time off to do something you need to do. 🙂
      I’ve been itching to go back and fix stuff, but I’m tamping down that impulse. I think the best thing to do is write straight through, knowing that it will be much better after the revision. Good luck to you!!! Keep me posted. I’m kmaccarron on NaNo if you want a buddy. 🙂

  9. I’m doing NaNo, but I don’t worry about speed and lots of words. That just doesn’t work for me. For me it’s more about committing some time—which I’m not doing too well at!

    1. Sheri,
      For me, I do NaNo because I’m lazy. And if I actually commit to something, I do follow through. So I made a commitment to myself. So far it’s working. Hopefully it will continue.
      Off to write since I’ve only written about 800 words so far today. Apparently I also need to cook and clean. haha

  10. I’ve never done NaNo, though I do write a fast and dirty first draft with NO editing allowed! I truly believe it’s the best way to *finish * a book, and it’s easier to edit later when you do have that more complete vision of the story. I’m sure im missing out on some good comraderie, though, by skipping the formal NaNo signup and progress checks. Really enjoyed your post– funny as always, and here are some words that definitely should be saved from the virtual trash can: “where I have generally slid under the finish line—dusty and tired—at the last minute” Use them in a book somewhere!

    1. Haha! Thanks for stopping by, Amy. I don’t have anywhere I can squeeze those words into my manuscript this time. But there’s always next NaNo. Let me go cut and paste those….
      I agree with you about just getting the story down. I’ve done NaNo four times, and I always think how much the books suck. But then I start going back through and layering and filling it out, and I realize that the bare bones are usually good. You can always work with that.

  11. I’m lot like many of you. I’m partly about the word count and partly about getting my rear in the chair. About ugly, I’m now writing back story about my hero’s perceptions of my heroine that I’m not sure I’ve mentioned before and that I want to capture while I’m thinking. Oh, well there’s revisions in my future to put these pieces back where they belong.

  12. Hi Kim! 38,000 words already? Wow! You go girl!! 🙂 I didn’t officially sign up for Nano this year, but I’m trying to work one on my own. The pressure of watching my word count online stresses me too much! 🙂

  13. Hi, Kim! Wow, you are simply amazing! I’ve been watching your progress on the Nano site with awe. My word count has been rather woeful, but in my defense I had to polish a proposal for my publisher. But that’s out of the way now and I’m ready to restart Nano.

    Good luck! I *know* you’ll finish your book!

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