Alex Callahan

Perfect mix of magic and mayhem

Tag: nanowrimo 2015

Won #NaNoWriMo and finished my novel! Time to celebrate!

NaNo-2015-Winner-Badge-Large-SquareI did it! Not only did I write over 50k in less than a month, but I also managed to complete what I set out to do!

I finished the first draft of my next novel faster than the previous one. The book, a YA paranormal story that I’m calling Misplaced, ended up being shorter than I anticipated, but still got over 55k in this draft.

For those of you who share my love for statistics:

I finished Misplaced in 28 days (as opposed to 60 days of writing, and 2.5 months between start and finish for Dead Under the Moon). It was completed in under 40 hours of actual writing (DUtM clocked almost 51 hours), averaging 1400 words per hour (where DUtM ended up having 950 wph average).

While I had amazing days (Day 1 and the 10k will not be forgotten for a long time), I also had really low points where I managed to write just a sentence before giving up. Still. I proved myself that with 2 hours a day, I can complete a novel within a month. And that gives me a lot of hope for the future of my writing.

Misplaced is the last competed novel in 2015. Now, I’m moving back to editing Blood in the Sky. Aiming to finish incorporating my beta’s critique by the end of the year. Depending on how that’s gonna go, I may or may not start another novel.

Things that helped me achieve my goal:

  • Nano. The atmosphere and the common goal, helped me get hyped up and it definitely helped me get through the low points
  • Really good outline. I would not be able to get through the low points, or the dreaded middle, without it. It was detailed enough to show me where I needed to go, but I kept things vague where I wanted to let my imagination carry me.
  • Getting to know the characters before I started to write. Having to start on November 1 meant I had some extra days once the outline was complete. I spent those days thinking about the characters and where I wanted to go with them. It allowed for some incredible things, where the characters surprised me and made the plot even better. Getting to know them also gave me some amazing ideas for the rest of the series.
  • Support from my friends and family. on and offline. I can’t even begin to emphasize how much people’s support and words of encouragement helped me.

Stay tuned for my plans for 2016. For now, I’m off to edit. World domination won’t happen on its own, after all! 😉

Day One of #NaNoWriMo2015… Just Wow

For me (though, obviously not for may other people), the first day of NaNoWriMo is over. I’ve been up for over 12 hours and for the majority of them I have been writing. I participated in word crawls, word wars and word sprints. I had countless sessions in Write or Die.

And, as you can see from my social media updates, I finished the day crossing the magical 10k milestone.

I wrote 10 000 words. In one day.

It feels surreal, but at the same time, it feels amazing. Yes, I’m exhausted, and I’m not entirely sure how to English (inside joke, sorry), but wow. I have established my personal best and I have this incredible thought that if I was a full time writer (without an actual day job), at this speed, I could finish first draft in 7 days or so. How great is that? Heck, even two weeks sound incredible when compared o the year it took me to write Blood in the Sky and over three months for Dead Under the Moon.

It’s certainly something to aim for in the future. For now, I’ll settle for winning NaNo and maybe, hopefully, finishing the novel before December (why yes, it means 70k in a month. Apparently this year, I’m an overachiever).

Now, onto the interesting stuff.

How did I get 10k written in a day (in what’s actually, I think, closer to 8 or 9 hours)?

I cleared out my day

November 1st is All Saints Day in Poland and we traditionally visit cementaries then, to light candles and pray for our loved ones who had passed away. But this year, since Nov 1 was Sunday, I talked my family into visiting the cementaries on Oct 31, Saturday. Which meant that unlike in the previous years, I actually had the entire, uninterrupted day free for writing.

I also made sure that my family knew I’d be busy and had no plans to leave the house. When I woke up at 8 am, I had breakfast and opened Scrivener. And I started writing.

I had support from other writers

My regular writing buddy and friend, Megan, is doing NaNo this year as well, so we’ve been inconstant contact to encourage each other. But I also posted to social media and got on chats where I knew people were doing NaNo. My family was also super supportive, providing me with ffod and tea whenever possible.

I took breaks

I seriously think reaks are almost as important as writing itself. There’s no way I would write 10k without any breaks. But everytime I reached a milestone or wrote for a specific number of time, I took a break. I tried to walk away from the computer, or at least switch to my browser to share my wordcount with fellow writers. I did something to relax. Hell, in the middle of the day, I grabbed a book and took an hour long bath to recharge my batteries (it was after I reached 6k and felt like I couldn’t go any further). That way, I kept my enthusiasm about the project, and kept going.

Word crawls, word wars, and writing sprints

I tried all those things this year, for the first time. If you dont’t know what a word crawl is, I highly recommend them! I am doing the OverAchievers crawl at the moment and it did help me push myself beyond what I considered my limits. Word wars and sprints with other writers were also incredibly motivating. They usually don’t last longer than 15 minutes (though there are longer wars happening as well) and even though they don’t seem like much, it’s still 300 or 500 more words that I would otherwise struggle for. Or worse, words that wouldn’t exist at all. Plus turning writing into a more social experience helps with the enthusiasm.

Though, if you choose to compete against other writers in a word war or a writing sprint, there’s one thing you absolutelly need to remember: You’re the only person you’re competing against! You shouldn’t compare yourself to other writers and their word-per-minute rate. Everybody is different and has a different writing speed and if you compare yourself to others, instead of motivation, you might want o give up. And that’s not what NaNo is about!

Write or Die

I left this for last, because it feels kind of obvious. Write or Die was a huge part of me getting through the rough patches and getting me going. I have it set to reward system and every once in a while I get a kitten for words written. It works really well for me. It doesn’t stress me out too much (especially if I do shorter runs, not longer than an hour) and I still keep a relatively high word-per-minnute rate with it (my highest at the moment in 42 wpm).

I hope your NaNo Day One was equally as productive! Hopefully, I’ll see you on Twitter or Instagram 🙂

Now I’m off to get some well deserved rest. Happy writing everyone!

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén