A compass on a map

The First Week of NaNoWriMo

Today marks the seventh day of NaNoWriMo! Words have been written, curses have been shouted, and laptops have been hurled at small kittens. With seven days behind me, I thought now would be a good time to consider how the first week has gone, and how I plan to face the next three weeks, hopefully without endangering any other mammals.

Pre-Production Pays Off

First of all, I’ve found the planning process for this years NaNoWriMo has really helped me out. I prepared far more than I have for any previous NaNoWriMo, and so far it has been worth every second. Knowing my characters means I get to write them in all their glory, rather than discovering them from scratch as I write it. From the first words, I can introduce fully fleshed out characters. When I’m writing about the corporate headquarters of the mysterious Salve Ltd, I don’t have to stop to think about what the foyer looks like, or what the conference room looks like. I’ve seen photos of it, I can just carry on with setting the scene. Rather than coming to a halt when I have to work out what comes next in the plot, I can check my scene cards and have a solid basis for my next chapter.

Some are concerned that if they plan too much, it leaves no room for that creative spark, that spontaneity that comes from writing. Well, I’m happy to say that hasn’t been the case. Just today, I discovered that my protagonist has an eye for art. Later, a character popped out of nowhere to lend my antagonist a hand. Now, when I go back to do the rewrite, I know I’m going to have to do a bit more work on those characters. But Nanowrimo is all about getting that first draft down, of course I’m going to have to rewrite. Right now I feel like I have the best of both worlds.

The bottom line is that the time spent in the pre-production has allowed me to get started writing straight away and to write faster. That’s a win in my book.

Music For The Soul

I’ve listened to music in the past when I’ve been writing, and I’ve not changed that. What has changed is the medium. Whereas I’ve always listened to my mp3 library on my laptop before, I fancied a wider selection of music and decided to give Spotify ago. Now, I’m as cheap as a bargain bin, so I of course opted for the ‘free’ account. How has it worked? Well, there’s good news and bad news. Because I’m a cynic you get the bad news first. The first thing I’ve discovered is I can’t listen to any rapping whilst I write. I know some people will only listen to instrumental, and I’ve never had that problem. Trying to write whilst Macklemore extols the virtues of shopping in thrift shops however, and I ground to a halt. But that was nothing compared to the horror that came when the adverts came on. I literally couldn’t type a single word when they came on, to the point where I would tear the headphones off and yell at the advert to shut up. Not so great for writing.

The good news is that I found some great playlists. Currently I’m listening to high energy trance which seems to speed up my words per minute, although I’m also tempted to try  some music more suitable for the ‘noir’ feel of the story. And, as an added benefit, my good friend J pointed out that if I listened to Spotify through the web player, as opposed to the app, there were no adverts. I have no idea how long that little workaround will work, but in the meantime, to quote the aforementioned Macklemore, I’m hella happy that’s a bargain. Word.

Kick Starting The Habit

I’ve written about habit before, so I won’t go on about it too much here. The more you repeat positive actions, the easier they are to do in the future. That’s why little and often is more beneficial than doing a lot once in a while. One of the benefits of NaNoWriMo is helping to kick start that  habit, and I feel like that’s already benefiting me. When midnight struck on the first of November, after an initial spurt it all slowed down and the words started coming like treacle. The second day they came a little easier, and I’d be able to write a little more until I felt like my brain was melting. Today, after doing my 1,000 word sprint, I just carried on writing, and managed to crank out another 1,000. A week of daily writing is a good start.  A month is even better. I’m just hoping that I can keep that daily writing habit going on after the month has finished.

To 50,000 and Beyond.

Currently, I’m at 15,833 words of the project, putting me a couple days ahead of schedule. It’s shaping up to be a great NaNoWriMo, and I’m hoping to see where the rest of the month takes me.

Are you taking part in NaNoWriMo? Has it changed how you write? Let me know in the comments below