It’s NaNoWriMo Preptime!

NaNoWriMo winner's certificate
My certificate for writing 50,000 words of a novel in November for the writing challenge called NaNoWriMo 2021.

It’s almost time for National Novel Writing Month. I’m on their email list and they’ve begun a six-week NaNoWriMo prep.

Last year was my first attempt at writing a rough draft of a novel during November. I did it!

But what I didn’t do was back up my manuscript. How or why? In any case, my laptop had a hardware issue and most of my files disappeared including my 50,000 word novel!

I called Apple and they tried for days to recover my files on icloud and my hard drive. No luck.

I’ve begun rewriting my novel and changed the point of view from one character to four characters alternating their stories. I’m at about 25,000 words. It’s added depth to the characters rather than viewing them from one perspective.

The emails from NaNoWriMo have motivated me to finish the manuscript. I’ll use their prep weeks to improve what I’ve written so far.

NaNoWriMo is giving me a second chance with this idea! I’m starting today. I don’t have to begin with a new idea. It’s just the push I need to complete this rough draft — again.

Have you tried the NaNoWriMo challenge?

Would you consider doing it this year with me?

Day One of NaNoWriMo

Sunrise over pool
Sunrise in my backyard on November 1, the start of NaNoWriMo.

I set my alarm for 5:30 a.m. to get a start on NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), where I attempt to write a novel in 30 days. I was tired, but felt I needed to get up earlier than normal. I have a lengthy morning routine and I’m not going to change it for this writing challenge.

I was treated to a gorgeous sunrise and the views of my morning walk were filled with pink-hued clouds and a violet sky. The world looks entirely different at dawn.

dawn views in the Arizona desert
Walking at dawn gave me a new view of the neighborhood.

My morning routine includes “The Artist’s Way” morning pages, reading a few Bible verses, prayer, a long walk, stretching, crunches, shower and breakfast. I never thought about how long this routine takes, but it’s more than two hours. I never was afforded the luxury of such a routine when I was working in public relations, as a financial advisor — or raising kids. It’s a perk of my empty nest.

I sat down at 8 a.m. and wrote for two solid hours. I decided I needed a break, but first I posted that I had written 2,000 plus words to the NaNoWriMo website and earned my first three badges. To figure out how many words I need to type a day, I divided 50,000 words by 30 days. I decided to write more than the 1,667 words because I may not want to write for 30 days straight. I will definitely take time off while my dad visits for Thanksgiving and I think I need to take an occasional day off from the challenge. After taking a break to read my favorite bloggers’ posts, I returned to writing a bit more and hit 3,030 words.

The website offers a tool to figure out how and when to write. They assumed I work full time so they told me to write two 40-minute sessions Monday through Friday, and fit in six hours on the weekend. I’m not following that schedule because my husband likes to get out and explore on the weekends and I like to go with him. I’m going for it and will write away while I’m enthused and the words are flowing. Why not?

I’m excited with my characters. The story so far is pretty slow. But the advice is not to edit, not to critique — it’s all about getting the words written down. Editing is something I’ll look at later, after this month is over.

Is anyone else taking on this challenge? Or if you’ve done it in the past, what tips can you offer? Remember, it’s not too late to start if you want to join me. If you’ve written a novel, how long did the process take you to write a rough draft? When do you find time to write?

What do you think is the hardest part? For me it’s the “mushy middle.”

If I could only remember

Olive with her cat grass.

I’ve been struggling with the NaNo Prep 101 assignments. I can’t quite find my idea or nail down the characters for the writing challenge I signed up for in November where I’m going to write 50,000 words of a novel in 31 days. I’m weeks away and just not thrilled with anything I’ve come up with.

Here’s a description of the first assignment:

Some people struggle to come up with a novel idea that excites them! Some people are idea machines, but have a hard time committing to one. Tackle this week’s exercise to focus on finding inspiration… and then hone in on a few ideas that spark your creative passion.

https://nanowrimo.org/nano-prep-101#week1

Last week I completed the first assignment. I had some inspiration with my characters but struggled through the next week’s tasks:

Week 2: Create Complex, Believable Characters
(Strong enough to shoulder a novel and hold your interest)
Week 2 Exercise: Character Development and Questionnaires
Characters are the active drivers of your story, and a huge part of a first draft is getting to know the characters you’re creating. Get a head start with this exercise!

Last night I had a vivid dream where it was all laid out. I had five characters. I was filling out their backstories, their ages, appearances, mannerisms, pet peeves, desires. It was all coming together. I made progress on the plot and was so excited to write. I was sitting at my laptop, editing, making changes, completing the exercises.

Morning came. Olive the cat jumped on the bed and woke me up. I struggled in my morning pages trying to remember my characters. They floated away out of my mind’s reach. I wonder if they were any good? Or was it my mind working through the process?

Have you ever problem solved or figured out a creative solution in your dreams? Do you usually remember your dreams or not?