The Verdict on NaNo: Week 1

It's awesome! It totally works!  I love it! Which is probably what everyone says one week in. The honeymoon phase. But, having written almost 45 pages this week, I have to give it credit. Discipline or structure or whatever you want to call it, works.

To backtrack for a sec - and for those who don't know NaNo - the goal is to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. My last post shows the daily/weekly breakdown to get there if you're starting from zero along with my own goal since I'm using something I'd already started. I was supposed to be at 22,285 words by the end of today and I'm somewhere just past 25,000. Whether or not this pace keeps up, I've learned a few worthwhile things already:

1) I've written my previous novels mostly as a pantser. I should not be a pantser. The hardest thing for me is plotting and when I pants my plot, it stinks.

2) I am not a slow writer. I've always thought I was, but the truth is, I'm only slow when I don't know what to write. I started to realize this in my multiple, major re-writes of How It Ends. I kept being amazed at how quickly they came together until I finally realized that - duh! - when you know where the story is going, it comes together much faster (see point 1)

3) Having a goal works. And by that I mean a hard, numeric goal, written on my calendar, not some vague I'd like to have this novel finished in the next month or so. Keeping an eye on that number, and how far I was from it, pushed me to write during a bunch of short little windows...15 minutes while the kids were playing, 20 minutes at swimming lessons...that I might have missed otherwise. If you add a page or so during each of these, it makes a difference.

Those are my epiphanies so far (all three of which are kind of DUH! but I'm slow like that). I also have to add what almost everyone else doing or supporting NaNo says...even if I do hit the 50,000 by month's end, this book will be far from ready to go to my agent or editor. I can already see a few threads that'll need more development and weaving into the overall story, but for me, that's the fun part. The not-so-fun part is always this first draft. What an amazing thing it'd be to have it out of the way quickly.