A View from Week 1 of Nanowrimo (Or, why I like widgets)

As I sit here writing, we have just now passed through the first week of Nanowrimo and I’m glad to say that everything is on schedule. 

As you should already know, the goal of Nanowrimo is to write 50,000 words in the space of November.  Now, how much exactly do you need to write in order to pull that off?  One thousand, six hundred sixty-seven words per day, on average.  How much is that?  Somewhere between two and a half to four type written pages, depending on how often you’re hitting the enter button (a day that’s heavy on descriptive passages or explanations is obviously going to be a lot shorter for the word count than a back and forth one-line-each dialogue).

For those of you who haven’t signed up, the Nanowrimo page is awesome.  In an expection to the rule, the stuff that impresses me isn’t the clear, simple layout of the page or the easy to use format.  Nope – I’m impressed by the dandy ‘Update Word Count’ function sitting up at the top.  In all, it’s not even that much to look at: it’s just a box that you can fill in with numbers with a small little link beside it.  So, why do I like it?

Because I have a horrible, terrible secret: I like math.  There’s something about numbers that calms and soothes me.  Addition, subtraction, multiplication, the whole spiel.  And the Nano Update Word Count widget feeds that fixation, since it links directly to the Stats page for my novel, which, among other things, tells you how many words you’ve written that day, your average number of words per day, and even how many words you’d need per day to finish on time (or even what day you’ll finish on if you keep up your current pace).

Woo! I wrote one word today! ...that means I'm done, right?

 In truth, I even use it as part of my writing strategy for Nanowrimo, in order to make sure that I always write a good amount per day.  If I think about writing all those words, then I never get very far.  It’s just a mental thing, a matter of getting over the big number. But, if that’s the case, then what about working smaller amounts more times?  After all, if the average is always 1667 words, then you only need to write about seventeen 100-word bunches.  How long is one of those?  About a paragraph in size (200 for really long paragraphs).  So, if I wrote through a paragraph or two, then pause and update my count, it would probably only take five to ten minutes, but it would most likely get me through 250 words.  Do that six times and you’ve just about got your stuff for the day done.

How about you?  What’s your method for muddling through your writing?

Also, Kaitlin wrote a couple of guest posts, so be sure to check them out!

Why Fantasy Nanoveling is More Awesome than Bananas
What to Expect When You’re Expecting Nanowrimo

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6 thoughts on “A View from Week 1 of Nanowrimo (Or, why I like widgets)

  1. [...] I was going to post about not posting. But then I discovered this blog post about the fantasy genre. It took my breath away. Ok perhaps I exaggerate a little bit, but it’s true.  I love fantasy, [...]

  2. Kat says:

    That was amazing. Not only well written but somehow perfectly puts into words what I feel and think about fantasy. Glad I found this post!

  3. nadina boun says:

    Good that you are going at it. I wrote the first 3-4 days then somehow got distracted and now I am at 11000 words but I need to pick up the pace and have no idea where the story is going. My imagination is running low… Btw I love math too!

  4. I lovr staring at that screen too! Its really addictive just to look at it. I’ve hit a NaNo wall at the moment so I dont have the courage to look at it until i’ve knocked out at leasrt another two thousand words tonight :)

    • Michael says:

      Best of luck to you with that writing blitz! I had noticed that you were stuck at ~9k words or so, so reme
      mber that even if it’s not the best, the goal is just to write it. After all, this is Nanowrimo – there’s a whole other month dedicated to Novel Finishing, and yet another month after that for Novel Editing. I know it’s hard to turn off the inner editor, but for the sake of your novel, tell it to kick off and get through this. Once again, I wish you the best of luck and I’ll be checking in to see how you do.

      • Thanks Michael. I managed to get just over 1400 words wrote last night. I got over my block by looking at the start of my story and asking myself how did the main character get there?
        Thanks for the support :)

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