Seven days into NaNoWriMo, it’s time for a check in.

My stats for the past week (shared in attempt to hold myself accountable):

  • I’ve consistently written every day. During the work week, I put in about an hour of work before starting my day job. On weekends, this work takes place at some point in the afternoon.
  • I’ve hit or slightly surpassed my word count goal each of those days.
  • So far I’ve drafted 12,505 words.
  • I’ve logged six hours and 31 minutes, meaning less than an hour a day of strict drafting.

Getting up and putting in the work first thing in the morning hasn’t been that hard. With this routine, this work is manageable.

I’m also considering this task as “work,” not necessarily in a bad way, but not just in a fun, pure expression of creativity. It’s a project that requires creativity and effort.

Something worth noting: I’m not doing any research. The hour-or-so I block for drafting is just for that. I think that’s really helping me reach my word count goal every day. Research will have to come later.

Something I’m shoving to the back of my head every time this insidious thought pops up is that none of this work is going to be salvageable. That’s not true. But, such a thought highlights a balance I and likely others in NaNoWriMo have to strike: to get words on paper and not worry about perfection, but with a goal of having some of the story, even parts of the sentence-level writing, remain.

I started this work with characters and a setting in mind but without the actual narrative arc and conflict fleshed out. I’m still not totally clear on where this story will go but I do jot down thoughts I have on this topic throughout the day when I have a free moment. In other words, I’m consciously letting it take shape but not predetermining the shape.

What’s next? I’ve taken a few notes on potential scenes and what questions I need to address. In the next week I’ll be working on those tasks while also continuing to build up the arc and establish a central conflict (I need to do these things, at least).

What about the rest of ya’ll? How is NaNoWriMo going? What have you learned about yourself and your writing?

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