Why It’s Important To Know How Fast You Write (aka More Nano Prep)

In preparing for my first NaNoWriMo, I’ve been trying to write some back stories for my character and world. I’m also trying to get into the habit of writing close to the daily word count I’ll have to reach during November if I want to hit 50,000 words before the end of the month (that’s 1,667 for those who are counting).

Mostly I’ve been managing around 1000 by putting in an hour or so.

Today I sat down determined to reach the magic 1667 and see how long that really took.

I reached 1859 in two hours and ten minutes.

Which is great to know, because now I know a, how much time I’m really going to have to budget every day and b, why I often get no writing done: I don’t allow enough time for what is, in fact, a slow process.

Things I learned:

  • It takes a while to think up and write a lot of words.
  • It is easier to keep going than to stop and start.
  • I must not do other things (that involve a lot of thought) in the middle of a writing block (folding laundry is OK, making breakfast is allowed. Browsing catalogues, websites and Twitter are as far from OK as it is possible to be).
  • When I get a bit stuck, just keep writing. Ask myself if I have described something well enough that people outside my head can see/feel it. Or go off on a flight of fancy, changing the tone for a few paragraphs. Or make something physically happen.
  • When I want to get up and walk away, ask myself what in the world I would really rather be doing. Because the answer to that (given the options ‘sit here and amuse yourself by playing with words’ or ‘do anything else’, the honest answer is always going to be ‘sit here and play with words’.
  • Write from 8-10 AM every day that I can. I need a big block of time and this one is a good one. If I get this one under my belt I can always pop back in later on and add some more words and feel awesome about myself. Running to catch up is never my favorite thing.And now I have to go and get ready to be Lunch Lady Doris.