I decided to do NaNo because, aside from wanting to write another novel and partake in the insanity, I wanted to learn a little more about myself as a writer. Until this month I haven't written with concrete deadlines, with someone to answer to if I don't meet my goals - at least not since college...
One of the things I told Ibis I hope to accomplish is see how much I can write in a given day, consistently. We've all had those times when the stars aligned and we knocked out an unbelievable word count, but could I do it every day? While writing The Other Side, a good day was 800 words. I occasionally broke 1000, but anything over 500 was acceptable. Now the minimum is 1667, but of course I can't settle for the minimum and have challenged myself to write 2000 per day. So far I've done pretty well and as of last night I was 5000 words ahead of schedule.
But can I keep it up? We're not quite to the halfway mark and since my goal is 60K, I'm one third of the way done. I think this story will actually be much longer, but for now I'll settle for the industry minimum.
Another thing I hoped to learn about myself is HOW I write best. Through trial and error over the past ten days, I've discovered I can write over 3000 words daily as long as I break up my writing sessions. I seem to be able to crank out 1000 words pretty easily, but then my attention wanes. The past few days, as soon as I catch myself drifting, I backup my work, step away from the computer and read a little. (Currently reading Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint by Nancy Kress - very good so far.) After a chapter or two, I go back to my wip and try for another 1000 words. These breaks are sometimes a little longer, but as long as I stay focused, it's been working.
In the past week I've also started doing a workout video that my friend brought last month, so that's been my second writing break. Nothing is better for me than to burn off steam and get my muscles energized. I can sit back down refreshed, as if I hadn't already written 2000 words earlier in the day.
So what I've learned is this: I can write much more than I thought, but I need to be realistic and do it in sessions. My outline has carried me through when I start to get stuck, so part of my writing time has been devoted to developing what comes next. Spending that extra half hour allows my creativity to flow unrestricted.
Ibis had Saturday off - his first day off in almost three weeks - so I didn't do any writing and we spent the afternoon at a small island near Ixtapa. That, too, helped rejuvenate my mind.
Thanks to everyone for your comments about your attachments to your characters. I'm thinking about making an iTunes soundtrack for my teenage lovebirds to keep me in the mood. ;)