NaNo Day 10: How I NaNoWriMo

So, today is the tenth day of NaNoWriMo, which means we are now officially one third of the way through the month. Crazy how quickly this goes, right?

If you read yesterday’s blog post, then you know that I spent Saturday writing as part of the Twelve Hour Word Sprint event I put on. Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who participated–it was fun cheering each other on, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who appreciated getting a lot of work done on my novel. 🙂 (Also: CONGRATULATIONS TO MY FRIEND KIRA, WHO HIT 50K YESTERDAY!!!!!)

During sprinting on Saturday, Hannah and I actually headed over to a local write-in for a few hours, which neither of us had ever done before, and I HIGHLY suggest checking those things out, if you ever have them nearby. It’s difficult to focus in the dorm for a variety of factors (everybody’s being loud and having fun without you, you have nobody to guilt you into focusing, the whole of the internet is RIGHT THERE, etc, etc). On the other hand, the write-in was perfect for focusing, because it was a quiet environment, everyone in the room just sat there typing away at their novels with their earbuds in, and the only way I could access the internet was on my phone (which I did do a few times, but only to look up things and update my word count) (and look at Skype once) (but shhhh).

Primarily because of the write-in, which I was at for about two and a half hours, I got a lot written yesterday. Around 6k. Which isn’t as much as I would have liked, but I do also have all day today to try to get caught up, so if I can get a lot written now too, I should be able to at least get close to back on track with my plan for the month.

If you’ve been curious about this “plan” I have that’s different from NaNoWriMo’s official “write 1,667 words a day” policy, it’s basically that I tailor my word count goals for each day around what I have going on in my life. So because I have class all day on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I never schedule writing for those days. But I don’t have class on Wednesdays, so I try to write a lot on those.

Then there’s also the fact that I have a term paper due the day I get back from Thanksgiving, so I won’t have time to write over break the way I normally do (in previous years, I’ve pumped out 25k during Thanksgiving break). So my goal this year is to finish by Thanksgiving day so that I can spend the rest of break working on my homework. (I’m really nervous for this though, because I have a massive Spanish project due my last day of class before break, so I don’t know how much time I’ll actually have.) (Basically, all of my classes are conspiring against me this year to make NaNo next to impossible.)

Here’s the primary place I keep track of my goals and progress throughout the month. It’s taped to my desk so it’s very visible, and I check in with it a couple times a day:

desk goal sheet

I highlight daily goals in green if they’re at least 4k, pink for 2 and 3k, and yellow for 1k. I put a star beside days when, if I stick with my schedule, I’ll get behind the official NaNo word goal. Check marks go beside days I accomplished my goals (and if I’m ever actually caught up at the end of a week, I’ll put a check beside the weekly total as well).

The numbers in order, from left to right, are: Daily goal. Weekly goal. Overall goal to be at by the end of the week. Actual number of words I wrote that day. Actual overall I’ve made it to at the end of the day.

I also put my daily and weekly goals in my planner (I use this to keep track of more event-focused things), daily goals on a white board in my room I use for my to-do list (so more assignment-oriented things), and then, of course, I put my daily goal and overall progress on the white board on the outside of my door–I find that this has been helping me stay accountable for trying to keep up with my word count goals, because other people can see it there.

So basically, what it all comes down to is holding myself accountable for accomplishing my goals. Because I’m not following the official NaNo schedule, it can be a lot more difficult sometimes to say to myself, “You’re three thousand words behind where you need to be right now–you need to keep writing,” because I’m already ahead of where NaNo says I need to be. But I know my own personal schedule, and I know the days I’m going to have a thousand hours of homework to do, and I know that even though I’m a writer and I consider what I do to be work, school needs to come first (because otherwise my parents would not be happy campers, and in turn I would not be a happy camper).

How do you NaNoWriMo? Do you follow the official daily goals, or just write as you please, or make a personalized schedule like I do? How’s the month going for you?

day 10

 

~Julia