The end of December is the end of that beloved time of chugging caffeine and desperate typing known as NanoWriMo. For this year, I decided to track time instead of word count. I unfortunately missed my mid-month goal. However, my overall results are:
2,172 minutes working on Dark Island during the month of November.
In terms of making my goals, it is mixed. I did work on it everyday during the month of November. I also failed to make 50 hours. Part of it was I completely messed up my calculation of minutes, and a couple of weeks into the month I looked like I was going strong when it really was my terrible math.
I decided I earned one reward: a crochet doll of Angrboda from Flyting Fox on Etsy. Now I just have to figure out how to make myself earn the Loki doll. Because I really want the Loki doll. But the whole experience did teach me a few things.
Tracking Time is Actually a Good Idea
The problem with word count is it only helps when you’re at the generating stage. Writing a project like a novel has multiple stages, and some of which you are cutting, moving things around, or researching to see if you got a detail right. Not having a word count does not mean you weren’t working on it. It is a psychological boost when you’re stuck and feel like you haven’t done anything to look at your records and realize you have been doing a lot. The biggest hurdle is getting myself in the habit of checking the time when I start. If I am using pen and paper, I started writing the start and end time in the margins, although I do have to remember to add the date. On the computer I just have to remember to write it down. Yes, I have to calculate totals and record them, but if you do it every day it really doesn’t take long, and I have a monthly tracking chart in my sort of bullet journal.
I Do Need a Rest Day
Yes, I plowed through to the end. But it definitely wasn’t sustainable. I need one day off a week to meditate, or watch a new episode of the Last Kingdom. Giving your mind a break gives the back of your mind a chance to put pieces together and helps prevent exhaustion. Humans aren’t meant to go at top speed everyday, whether physically or mentally.
Reading Through What I Have Written Works
Sometimes I would get stuck. Sometimes I would just think of how much I wanted to go to bed. But forcing myself to spend the last few minutes reading through writing kept it fresh, and helped me remember where I was at when I came back the next day.
I really, really, need to write earlier then right before bed
Simply put, its too tiring.
Splitting Time Up Worked
Have a few minutes to jot down some idea. Write a new scene, or revisit an old scene. Then when have a block of time later type it up. Also, breaks are good. When I got stuck I would spend time pacing and talking to myself to work through it.
Depending on where I am at in the current WIP next year, I might do the same NanoWriMo goals next year. Or if I am writing a draft I can try to add 50,000 words for the months. But I took a bit of a break, and now intend to get back to it. The irony is I keep on getting ideas for a second project which is int eh drafting phase. I hate my brain, sigh.
Happy Holidays! What holiday you celebrate this months.