Last November, after three years of trying to get in the game, I participated and successfully completed my first NaNoWriMo. I admit I cheated a little — you're supposed to start a brand new novel on 1 November, and I continued work on one I had about 7,000 words done already. However, I really did finish just over 50,000 words during the month, bringing my total up to around 57,000 words.
Since then, things have been not so happening on the novel front. I've been getting short stories done regularly, and submitting, and I started these blogs, and, and, and... somehow, whenever novel-writing is involved, listing all the other accomplishments you've made, even within the same craft, just don't matter. You could have ended world hunger, created real and lasting global peace, and found a safe and inexpensive way to reverse global warming, but you know what? Your novel is still on the same chapter it was three months ago, and it's all your fault.
During my morning commute, it's too awkward to write on anything bigger than a paper notebook or my Nokia tablet (hence all the short story-writing that's getting done), but it gives me a chance to think, and what I've been thinking is that if I give myself a NaNoWriMo-style word count and deadline, I will probably be further ahead than if I just keep trying to wing it. One thing about the day job: it makes me very comfortable with project-driven work and with deadlines. Weirdly, in the past six months my most effective writing tool has been a spreadsheet.
I've decided to give myself until 30 June to get the second half of the novel done. I'm at 58,000 words or so, and I figure the first draft will come in around 120,000. That means an average of just under 1,000 words per day to keep on track. Heck, at the end of NaNoWriMo, I could run that off in an hour. I've known approximately what's going to happen for ages; I just need to bloody write it down.
1,000 words a day on average should be pretty good. It's less than NaNoWriMo, but I know that there will be other things happening (like my brother's wedding in June), so I'm bound to miss a few days and need to catch up.
There. I've told the world.
Stay tuned and watch the footer of this blog if you want to see how it goes.