Impressions of NaNoWriMo from a First Timer #1

On the first day of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo or henceforth NaNo), I was pumped. I had been planning most of October in a purple spiral notebook just how I was going to capitalize on my great story idea. I had ¾ of the plot outlined, all of the characters had first and last names, all of the quotes from the poem the characters would be analyzing were selected, and the locations had names. It wasn’t my normal routine, but waiting for NaNo to start was too agonizing.

You see, I’d been missing the presence of other writers. It is a lonely profession sitting in front of a computer all day, and the prospect of writing with other equally zealous people was too much of a temptation not to get started.

I do know the rules: “no writing any of your actual story beforehand,” and I was keeping to that rule.

What you will find by going to the NaNo website is that NaNo encourages pre-planning, and I needed to write down my ideas before they got too out-of-hand, so I did. I pre-planned. Perhaps a little too enthusiastically, but I pre-planned.

File:Notebook blue.png

On the first day, November 1st, NaNo sent out an e-mail of someone’s blog post suggesting participants try the Reverse or Backwards NaNo Approach.

To finish by November 30th with how NaNo is normally setup, participants write 1667 words every day. Reverse NaNo follows the idea that participants write the most amount of words at the beginning of the month when motivation is at its peak, then decrease the word count every day until you only have 1 word to type on November 30th.

Like I was saying, I was feeling a lot of good energy going into my first NaNo so I thought, Why not? I can write 3,300 words in a day with what I’ve been outlining.

Turns out I almost did. I wrote 2960 words the first day. I wrote 1700 at home and about 1200 at the NaNo write-in at a local Starbucks. It was good. I was delirious, but it was good.

On a side note, I’m pretty sure the spaciness at the end of Day 1 came from hunger. I’ve never written that many words in one sitting – except for finals week at UCI – but I’m pretty sure my constitution can take it. What I am going to do differently is eat a large meal before the next write-in and bring a snack with me. I’m thinking Cheez-Its. I need the crunch factor.

Oh, and write-ins are a great resource, but I’ll go more in-depth about those in a different post.

Day 2. At the end of Day 2, I had produced 830 words. Yep. That’s it. 830. No explanation.

I was worried that I would be following a seesaw pattern after Day 3.

Here is the breakdown so far:

Day 1 = 2960

Day 2 = the 830

Day 3 = 3,023

Now it is Day 4 and I’m ready for a challenge. For me, after I went over the standard word count of 1667, I found a flow I wasn’t expecting. It’s kind of like the story grabs you and you hang on for dear life as it unfolds before you. It could also have been the adrenaline of going above and beyond NaNo’s expectations. I can be competitive.

However that flow came about, participating in NaNo has been a great learning tool, and hopefully all of the participants of National Novel Writing Month will become better writers for it.

~ Until Tomorrow

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4 Responses to Impressions of NaNoWriMo from a First Timer #1

  1. Ellen says:

    I love that you are so motivated to write! Can you throw some of that my way? Haha

  2. Jools says:

    Fascinated to see your progress across the month. Keep going… keep going…

    • Marissa says:

      Thank you for the words of encouragement! They were just what I needed. Today was a new high. And keep plugging away yourself. Every day counts for a writer.

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