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This morning, at approximately 7:05 am, I wrote the 50,000th word of my Nanowrimo project.

It was “and.”

Not a very inspiring or interesting word, but that’s okay. It was the winning word.

To win at Nanowrimo is a simple thing. It just takes 50,000 words. 50,000 words of anything, any story, as long as they were written in the month of November of the current year. That’s all. It doesn’t matter what you write: romance, historical, mainstream, science fiction, mystery, whatever. I’ve known people who wrote 50,000 words of poetry or fan-fiction or memoir. The idea is to write, to write every day, to develop daily writing habits.

For a couple of years, I did write daily. In 2010, I slacked off, a lot. I went whole weeks without writing more than a thousand words. Call it a slump.

I think I’ve broken through that. I hope I have. I intend to at least attempt to make sure that I have. I wrote every day this November. I didn’t always meet the daily goal (1667 words), but I did at least sit down and try to write.

And it felt good. Even though I don’t really like what I’ve got written. I sat down with an idea, and I did a lot of writing this month without knowing what direction I was going. But that’s okay. I think I figured it out along the way. But this story needs a lot more plotting work, a lot more development along the lines of what’s happening when. It’s all a mash right now, a jumble. But at least now I have a murderer for my murder mystery. And other suspects. I’m still not one hundred percent sure on how (accidental homicide? intentional?) but at least I know the why. And I learned a whole lot about my main character, my sleuth. For one thing, she’s several years older than I originally thought, closer to 40 than 30. She’s also got a more interesting history than I had expected. She can be a very complicated woman. I’ve come to like her more this month.

Even so, I’m going to shelve this book for now and go back to its predecessor from my 2009 Nanowrimo project. The first murder mystery featuring this sleuth of mine. A story that now has about 90,000 words to it, not all of them good. It’s got some promise, though, and I’d like to see it make something of itself.

So, I’m going to take a break for the weekend and do some Christmas preparation and maybe get the house a little organized. And then, come Monday, I’ll sit down with that 2009 project and get to editing. It needs a good bout of editing. It also needs a lot more writing done – there are big breaks in the narrative that need to be filled in, and other parts that need a little more research to make them fleshier. The ultimate goal, of course, is to mold it into a workable draft and maybe then into a manuscript, something with real promise to it.

I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me, I know. But I rediscovered just how much I love writing this month. I intend to keep it up.

Happy writing, folks! Keep the words flowing.

Yes, technically, we’re past midpoint. But only by a couple days, and this is when I have time to write about it.

By the end of today, I should have 30,006 words written. I currently have 26,284. To hit today’s goal, I need to write 3700 words.

That sounds pretty daunting, but yesterday, I wrote a total of 3200 words, so I think I can do it. If not, I’d at least like to hit 3000 words, jut because that would get me mostly caught up, and I’d have less to worry about on Monday, my busiest day of the week. I’m doing my Thanksgiving shopping on Monday and then attempting to clean the kitchen within an inch of its life. This will probably be an all day thing. Somehow, I’ll have to find time to go pick up Geordie from work.

Oh, and write the daily dose of 1667 words.

As for the story itself, it’s coming along. I started with that idea of mine and not much in the way of plotting, character development, or scene-planning. Most of the writing I’ve done so far is just random scenes I know I want or need the story to have. It’s not the most efficient way to write a story, but it has helped me figure out a few plot details. It also helped me pull in more characters and get a feel for them, which is good because most of them are suspects in the murder part of this mystery.

The surprising thing for me this year is that I’m actually liking the story. I was pretty sure I would hate it and hate writing it because I had put so little prep into it. As it turns out, it’s been kind of fun seeing where all these random scenes take the plot. I’m using them to piece everything together, not unlike a big, confusing jigsaw puzzle. By putting together scenes, I’m figuring out what needs to come before that, what needs to come next, and what it all means for the overall plot.

So, while it’s been enjoyable, it’s also been a bit slow, because I do get stuck every once in a while trying to figure out where to go next. But, that’s okay. Nanowrimo is meant to be productive, but it’s also meant to be enjoyable. If you’re not having fun doing it, I think there may be something wrong, either with the story or with the method. I’ve had a couple years that I absolutely hated writing my story, and I never got past 25,000 words with them. This year, I’m not thrilled with my story, but I’m enjoying it, so I’m sticking with it.

Speaking of which, I’m off to do some writing. If any of you reading this are taking on the Nanowrimo challenge: don’t give up! It doesn’t matter how much you write by the 30th! All that matters is that you make the commitment to write something every day. Write a little, write a lot – just write! Doesn’t matter if it’s good, if it’s terrific, or if it’s just so-so. Write! That’s the most important thing!

Happy noveling!

Well, eight bags of candy may not have been enough, but it was still a pretty good Halloween. And a warm one! Geordie was certainly a good sport about wearing his costume, considering that he had a mask and long sleeves and all.

Oh, right. Our costumes.

Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf.

Geordie is way better at this posing thing than I am. I couldn’t stop laughing. He’s just so adorable!

My costume was pretty comfortable, not surprising given that they were out of my size and I had to go a size larger than I needed. So it looks really baggy on me. Also, the hood was really, really warm. But at least I didn’t have the full-face mask, which Geordie totally rocked, by the way! He was a great Big Bad Wolf.

Hope everyone had a safe and fun Halloween! We now have no candy at all in the house (I even gave away my stash of Kisses), which is probably for the best.

Now begins November, possibly my favorite month of the year, what with Nanowrimo and all. As of 9am this morning, I have 2109 words already written, which is a promising start! I hope the rest of the month goes just as well.

Happy November, all!

Sara

I am a daughter and a sister, a wife and a friend. I am a reader and a writer, a dreamer and a realist, a teacher and a learner. I am the mother of a baby born sleeping. I am on a journey of healing, walking a path paved with tears and grief and hope.

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