Sheryl R. Hayes

Figuring out writing one word at a time.

A Post NaNoWriMo Letter To Myself

Dear Beginning-of-December Sheryl,

What a month it has been.

You went into NaNoWriMo knowing you were going to be behind since the first three days of November you were at Convolution.  You knew that you probably wouldn’t be able to write 1667 words for those three days.  And although you surprised yourself by writing 2564 words on day one, you knew that pace wasn’t sustainable.  By the end of day three, you were 1276 words behind.

So you decided to make a game of it and tracked your word count on a spreadsheet.  You noticed some interesting trends.   It took you nine days to catch back up to the average of 1667 words per day.  When you attended The Night of Writing Dangerously, you manage to squeeze out over 4,000 words, and your brain felt like swiss cheese the next day, and failed to make the average.  Clearly large sprints are not good for your writing process, since you can’t depend on huge bursts of creativity to make up lost ground.  Staying on pace is the best option.

Other things you learned are:

  • You are able write about 250 words in a 20 minute sprint during your break at your day job.
  • Expect people to interrupt you at work wanting to know about your tablet and wireless keyboard.
  • Expect your mother to interrupt you at home as she needs things done.
  • Just expect to be interrupted, no matter how you try to structure your writing time and location.
  • You can shut off your internal editor with the promise of fixing it later.
  • If your internal editor won’t shut up after the promise is made, making notes about how to fix the scene will shut it up.
  • You cannot write in a linear fashion to save your life.
  • If you sit down, words will come.  Remember the word for that.
  • Your outlining skills need an upgrade.
  • Scenes will arrive to fill holes in your outline.  They may take their sweet time showing up, but they will come.
  • Placeholder names, such as your current favorite WhatthehelldidInameher, will keep you moving forward.
  • TV, people, and the Internet in all its forms distract you much more than you thought.
  • And for the love of all that is holy, avoid TV Tropes when you want to write, no matter how much research can be done there.

So what should you do next?

Glory in the fact that you wrote 50,222 words in one month.  Put this book aside and go back to editing your first book, as well as writing those book reviews you’ve been wanting to do.  Don’t pick this novel up to start working on its problems until at least January.   You know it’s only half-way complete and there is a plot problem you need to fix.  Once you have the first book squared away, you can resume this one.

I’m proud of you.

Love,

Sheryl

Final NaNoWriMo Word Count:

2 Comments

  1. Amazing total! Congratulations! 🙂

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