Midnight tonight brings an end to the first week of National Novel Writing Month 2009, the first 168 hours of novel writing. To keep pace for making 50,000 words by midnight on the 30th, writers should have reached 11,669 words by the end of today. Chris Baty, founder of NaNoWriMo, posted a video at the website urging everyone to push to get to 15,000 by the end of Monday. A good sentiment; I wish the video weren’t so freakin’ embarrassing to watch. Seriously, Chris, an Ewok? You think an Ewok will inspire people? BRING ON GODZILLA! Now that’s inspiration.
Me? I’m at a touch over 30,000 words. This puts me on pace for most of the first drafts I’ve written, including the book for NaNoWriMo last year. I’m a touch ahead from last year, but that’s because I took a day off from writing anything during the first week of last year’s NaNoWriMo, and I’ve written every day this year so far.
Observations on the first week? Is it different than last year? It’s a new novel, a different world, so that’s quite different, of course. I’m doing freelance and tutor work instead of doing a day job, so that alters everything. And I went in with less planning on the novel than last year, so I feel my work this year is a bit “wobblier,” but I don’t have a fear that what I’m writing is unsalvageable garbage. I won’t really have a good opinion of it until I read through it a month after I finish it. But so far, it seems close to what I anticipated it might be. Even though it looks like I’m writing in a fast delirium, I do take care as I write, use the backspace, make minor edits, and try not to simply pound out random thoughts when I get stuck. That works for some people, but I do need my first draft to feel cohesive, if not necessarily “good.” My high word count comes not from speed, but from training myself over years of writing to simply sit down and just write and not get up until I’ve put in the promised time. In some parts of my life, I’m not very disciplined, but when it comes to writing, I’m fierce about it.
Once I finish this “Weekend of 10,000 words” I’ll drop down to shorter amounts during the workweek . . . but if I have my pattern properly marked out, I should make it to 50,000 words on Sunday the fifteenth. However, I can already see that the book will go to around 75,000 words, so I’m in for the full month haul like last year. I think 75,000 is my magic first draft number. It seems the right start for a Young Adult novel.