Inside Look at a NaNo Journey: Part One
Hello! You’ve probably seen me hanging around here, on the blog and a little bit on social, but just to reintroduce myself: My name is Megan and I am a Mighty Pens volunteer and participant this year! (If you want to know a little bit more, check out my Volunteer Spotlight! And while you’re there, take a peek at some of our interviews with other volunteers!)
Each week, I put together some fun posts for you all. You may have noticed the Mighty Pens check-in post that went up yesterday (check it out for a look at all of our participants’ fundraising efforts and word counts so far). And now, I’m also going to be a little check-in on my journey, as well.
Like many people, I have a word count goal of 50k words in 30 days. Alongside that, though, I also have the goal of writing at least a little bit every single day. I’m after that 30-day streak badge! What this looks like for me is some days with amazing word counts of 3k or more and some days where I max out at 500 words, if that. Even if I can only do a little bit of writing on my phone right before bed, I still want to do something every day. Every little bit helps.
This is my fourth NaNoWriMo. The past three years, I have been a NaNo Rebel every time. I write 50k, but I do it on a project that I have already started. Fun fact: two of those years, I worked on the same novel and still managed to write 50k new words! To be fair, that draft ended up being over 130k words… So, yeah.
This is the first year I am a traditional NaNo participant. I am working on a completely new idea. I got the idea for this novel a few months ago, but because I was in the middle of the third draft of my other novel, I decided to save it for November. The most I worked on it was some plotting and character development and a couple pantsed scenes that spilled out of me. (I am a hardcore plotter, but I love pantsing a few scenes right at the beginning of my development process just to get a feel for the story and characters.)
On November first, I set out with the intention of writing 50,000 brand new words on this brand new story. So, how far have I gotten?
Week One Update
Whew! This has been a week. Being in the US, this really was probably the worst possible time to start NaNoWriMo, but here we are, taking our frustrations and anxiety out on our characters.
During the first few days of November, I got off to a FANTASTIC start. I really was impressed with myself. I hit 10k on day three! Man, did I feel accomplished. I even managed quite a hefty word count on Election Day (mostly because the numbers didn’t start coming in until much later in the evening).
November fourth, on the other hand, was a mess. I think a lot of people in this country suffered from what I saw someone refer to as an “election anxiety hangover.” And I have never read a more apt description. Wednesday was a day for sugar-comas and social media black-outs. Every other day this week, I have been a Twitter-refresher, but on Wednesday, I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t do my work and I could barely write. I woke up in the morning, forced myself to push out 500 very terrible words, and then did nothing but watch videos on my phone all day long. I allowed it, though. I didn’t reprimand myself and I didn’t feel guilty. I just let myself be lost in my blackhole of emotions and came back renewed on Thursday.
On Thursday, I put in the work and I hit 15k. Friday turned into another hard-to-focus day, but with completely different vibes. With the election news coming in slowly and seeming to be pretty positive, all I could do was watch the news and refresh Twitter. I haven’t hit a new milestone just yet, but I’m making my way there and feeling pretty good.
The Mighty Pens
Now, you know that we’re here for much more than just our word counts. We’re here for the Mighty Pens community and fundraiser. And this is the part where I am brutally honest with you: I am not a good fundraiser and I am not a good Discord-er. I love seeing everyone interact with this community, but I am definitely a sidelines kind of person. I might drop in every once in a while, but seriously, I just do not get Discord and it’s super hard to keep up with.
I’ve managed a little bit of fundraising, too, but more than anything, I am here cheering everyone else on. Way to go to everyone who has contributed to the over $2,000 raised for Every Mother Counts so far. I am rooting for us!
Write Before Your Eyes
So, all this to say what?
This week has been rough. And that’s okay.
First and foremost, I want to remind everyone that you are on your own path. I know my word count might seem high to some people (it’s higher than I usually am at this time, too), but it’s still not as high as others. If you’re putting in the work, it matters. Whether you’re writing 200 words a day or 2,000, those are still words on the page and you’re still doing the thing.
Secondly, I used the above pun for a reason. If you didn’t already know, this is the name of my blog and bookstagram. I chose it to mean something. I started out on bookstagram to help keep myself accountable, to read more books and write more words. And I have to say, I’ve never read more than I have in the last couple of years. I have also finished two first drafts and two post-first drafts since starting. So, I’d say it’s working out in my favor.
But “write before your eyes” is more than a terrible pun and a maybe-catchy name for my blog. It means seeing the results of my work. It means dedicating myself to my goals and making the magic happen—whether the magic is 5,000 bad words or 14 amazing ones. So, I hope this month, no matter where you are in your word count, no matter where you are in your process, that you take a moment to reflect on how far you’ve come. Keep doing the thing.
Stay tuned for another update next week. Here’s hoping the next few days go a little smoother. It’s hard to tell.
And don’t be shy! Join us on social media or on Discord and tell us how your week is going! See you on the battlefield—uh, I mean writing field.