Checking In: Tackling the First Week

4 Nov

Happy Friday, WriMos! Congratulations – we’re four days into November, and we’ve reached our first weekend of NaNoWriMo. For those of you living in the United States, we’ll gain an extra hour on Sunday, which may come in handy for sleeping/writing/tackling other chores and responsibilities. Use it wisely!

Today’s mashup is a bit shorter than our last two, as we’re trying to keep up with our writing and spend less time surfing the ‘net. Still, we’ve got a few gems to share that we hope you’ll all enjoy:

Mini-Mashup of Awesome

Writing buddies is finally live on the NaNoWriMo website. If you haven’t already done so, check out our linky list of participants and buddy up.

Over at WriMos FTW!, Lisa Bouchard has a very useful checklist of things we must remember to not neglect this November, like eating and spending time with our families.

Likewise, we would like to share Claire Legrand’s amazing post from August, “Y’all, Please Remember to Shower.” Many thanks to Kait Nolan for tweeting this essential reminder to all ROW80 and NaNoWriMo participants Thursday morning.  Warning: Do not read whilst imbibing liquids, for your own safety.

GalleyCat is publishing a daily NaNoWriMo writing tips during November. Today’s tip: utilize mind maps as a technique for organizing ideas for your novel.

Elspeth Antonelli has shared her top 10 tips for approaching NaNo, including such gems as “Don’t expect perfection” and “Cursing at the computer screen is part of the experience.”

For those of you using Scrivener this month, we recommend David Hewson’s excellent blog tutorials and tips on using the program. Hewson has also written an e-book, “Writing a Novel With Scrivener,” that’s really useful.

Contest Alert! WriMos FTW! has just announced the FIRST LINE BLOG CONTEST. All you need to do is leave the first sentence of your NaNo novel in the comments section, and 13 wonderful, amazing judges (of which Lena is one) will pick three winners. Enter your sentence before November 5th, 3:30 pm (EST) to be considered.

Finally, Dee Garretson has made an absolutely hilarious video that captures probably every misconception about what it means to “win” NaNoWriMo. Perfect for when you need a laugh, and a reminder about why we’re writing this month.

The First Check-In

Today’s post is also exciting because we’re hosting our first check-in.  Here’s how our work is coming along:

Em’s Update:

My plan of writing in the morning is going well and I have managed to write for atleast 30 minutes before leaving for work. I love the fact that I have some of my word count under my belt before I start my day, it makes me walk with a spring in my step! I have settled into an evening routine. I come in, put my pjs and a warm jumper on, get a hot water bottle (England is cold!) and put a microwave meal in. While waiting for this I turn my laptop on, check my emails and pack my lunch for the next day. I have managed to take part in a hour sprint with some fellow NaNoers and ROW80ers each evening and these have been great for my word count!

I do have some worries though. One is my diet. I am eating badly. I am eating quick, easy food that I know is not good for me. I thought to myself earlier ‘December won’t be for editing, it will be for dieting!’ Then I noticed edit and diet have the same letters in them! Is it tiredness that makes me think that is cool!!!?? Anyway, I am going to try and watch the biscuit and caffeine intake and be mindful of what I eat. NaNo does not mean I get to eat crap for a month!

Upcoming challenges are that I am at my parents this weekend and have a family event on Saturday. Oh and I will be out on Friday night. I have settled into a nice little weekday routine and as I live alone I just ignore my phone so I am uninterrupted but I guess I need to adjust for the weekend and think of when I can write. My parents are aware I am taking part in NaNo but I doubt they will realise how much of my time it is taking! We will see.

A tip from me – if you are writing in Scrivener then keep a blank word document open to type words to quickly check in a thesaurus. Scrivener might have a thesaurus but I haven’t found it yet!

Word count total – 6223!! (This was my word count last night as I emailed Lena my check-in on Thursday. I should have added some words this morning!)

Lena’s Update:

I’m still trying to figure out my “best practices” for writing, as my class schedule is different each day. I do know that aiming for a word count beyond the base 1667 is impossible between Sundays-Tuesdays, which means that the end of the week and the weekends will be my best bet for gaining a bit of a word count buffer. That buffer will come in handy at the end of the month, when I’ll be driving to my parents’ house for the Thanksgiving celebrations. My parents”get” the writing thing, but only to a certain extent. I definitely won’t be allowed to skip out on family time to work on my novel.

Like Em, I’m also trying to watch my diet. I am cooking dinner each night, which is a marked improvement from my usual habits, but I have been forgetting breakfasts and, er, eating a lot of bread in-between lunch and dinner. Time to find some healthy snacks, so if anyone has suggestions, I’d love hear ’em. Still, I’ve been making time to work out in the mornings before class, and trying to keep up with my chores and housework (easier said than done!).

Schoolwork is getting done slowly but surely, although I just got hit with a gaming bug, and now have this itching need to replay Dragon Age and Mass Effect, my favorite RPG videogames — not the best thing when I’ve got a limited amount of free time right now. However, my NaNo writing is proceeding surprisingly well. As of 12:30 am Friday morning (California time, that is), I have a total of 5230 words, and an excellent sense of where I’m heading in the next half-dozen scenes. I’m looking forward to more sprints with the #ROW80 crew (watch the hashtag on Twitter for sprint announcements), and to my first local write-in this Saturday.

How’s everyone else doing?

Tell us, how’s the writing coming? Have you been able to strike a balance between the demands of life and writing? Any tried and true techniques that you’d like to share with the rest of us?

Chat it up in the comments, leave each other feedback, and cheer each other on!

-Em and Lena


24 Responses to “Checking In: Tackling the First Week”

  1. Sarah Pearson November 4, 2011 at 8:13 am #

    Okay, I have a confession to make. My word count is zero. I wrote over 2000 words on the first day and on the second I had a completely awesome idea for a brand new story, and I’ve spent the past few days fleshing it out a bit. I know, I know I should have stuck with the original but meh. I’ll catch up over the weekend 🙂

    Oh, and you can microwave a potato in less than ten minutes. Add some grated cheese, baked beans or tuna and you have a reasonable healthy, quick filling meal 🙂

    • Lena Corazon November 6, 2011 at 6:13 pm #

      Sarah, I’m sure you’ll catch up! Nothing like those last-minute plot bunny sneak attacks, is there? But I think it’s important to run with the idea that grabs you the most intensely, especially for NaNo, since that’ll give you the motivation you need to move forward.

      Thanks for the baked potato recommendation! I’ll add that to my weekly grocery list. 😀

  2. Fallon November 4, 2011 at 8:57 am #

    I started out really strong with 2345 words on Tuesday. Wednesday I had a sick little girl at home with me and only managed a little over 1000. Thursday was between the two with almost 1700 words. So, I’m still on track with an average of 1700 words a day. Not sure how this weekend will go as tomorrow is my birthday, and my husband will be gone all morning, and then we’re going out to dinner tomorrow night. And Sunday, someone is coming over to help us with an electrical problem in our house, so I’ll be dealing with the kids pretty much on my own those two days as well. If I fall behind, hopefully I can play catch up next week.

  3. Darlene Steelman November 4, 2011 at 10:17 am #

    I went to the NaNoWriMo kick off Sunday at Panera in Bensalem, PA and I have been writing strong since!

    I am hoping to keep up my enthusiasm and hard work. I was writing last night and my story took an unexpected twist! Not sure if that is me or the character telling me what needs to happen.

    The best idea I have had so far is writing on my lunch at work. I get an hour lunch. I bring my lunch, whip out my lap top and eat as I write at my desk. 🙂

    Best of luck to you all!


    • Lena Corazon November 6, 2011 at 6:15 pm #

      Darlene, writing during lunch-time is a great idea. I’ve done a couple of sprints during my lunch period with Lauren, Em, and a few other ROWers, and it’s crazy how much I got done in a single hour.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Dawn Luellan (@DawnLuellan) November 4, 2011 at 10:42 am #

    Hello, everyone! It sounds like everyone is doing pretty well. Don’t mind the word counts at this point. It’s still early in the month. There’s plenty of time to catch up, if need be. 🙂

    I’m currently up to 5481 words at the start of today. I’m planning to jump into the writing as soon as I get everyone off to school and work because this afternoon and evening are chock full of things to keep me otherwise occupied. Good thing, though, is that I’ll be going out on a date with hubby tonight, which I cannot wait for!

    Writing is going rather well, though…

    I was really quite pleased with one or two scenes I wrote yesterday. They just flowed, which has become unusual for me, rather than the norm as of late. I think it might have something to do with the fact that I’m writing each day, rather than skipping one or more here and there. So, definitely planning to keep at it.

    Have a GREAT day everyone and a (hopefully) productive weekend to you all!

    • Lena Corazon November 6, 2011 at 6:18 pm #

      Thanks for stopping by, Dawn! Glad to see that you’re finding the right time of day to write — that makes all the difference in the world.

  5. Nadja Notariani November 4, 2011 at 11:09 am #

    Hello to everyone! It sounds like we’re all off to a great start! Mary Poppins (whom I adore) always did say that, ‘Well begun if half done’…lol.

    I’ve surpassed my word count goal each day in the hopes of having that buffer for Friday night (It’d be nice to actually REST on Shabbat…ha!), but I’ll probably not be able to resist writing ‘just a bit’. That’s okay, I just don’t want to HAVE to…you know?

    I’ve got a fairly mundane first line…’Closing the program on her laptop, Paige Kinnell tidied her desk in preparation for tomorrow’s return.’

    Lots to do today…Hope you all have a fantastic weekend. Happy writing!

    • Lena Corazon November 6, 2011 at 6:20 pm #

      Glad to see that the words are flowing, Nadja, and great job on building yourself a buffer zone. Hope your weekend is going well!

  6. Kat Morrisey November 4, 2011 at 1:30 pm #

    So I’ve beat the word count so far; my total is 8624. I am trying to get a little bit ahead since I have had a couple days off. Next week and the week after will be the challenge because I will be away from the computer more. I am loving the ‘sprinting’ with fellow ROW80 and NaNo participants in the afternoon–it ensures I get some writing in and it’s so fun. I was worried my WIP was going to be kinda random and rushed given my focus on word count, but I was wrong. It seems to be coming along nicely, though I changed the direction my main character is going in, found her a new boyfriend and changed who the baddie is. The great thing is, all those changes kind of happened naturally, making what I have so far flow really nicely. I too need to watch the bad eating habits. It gets too easy to just throw in some microwave popcorn and forget about things like veggies and fruits. Gotta re-examine my meal planning this weekend. Keep up the good work everyone and good luck!

    • Lena Corazon November 6, 2011 at 6:34 pm #

      Kat, stumbling upon those natural changes are one of my favorite elements of writing. I’m happy to hear that things are coming along well. Looking forward to our next sprint!

  7. Em November 4, 2011 at 1:44 pm #

    It is so encouraging to hear how everyone is getting on! Thank you so much for stopping by!

    Keep up the good work!

    • Lena Corazon November 6, 2011 at 6:19 pm #

      Everyone’s doing so well! It makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. 😀

  8. mrsbongle November 4, 2011 at 6:05 pm #

    Have got up 6969 words today. However I think that sometimes the plot is very slack. I’m typing words and upping the word count but the trouble is that the words are not really advancing the plot that much. Was better today because I managed to move the plot forward some but yesterday and the day before I sensed I was just padding which is not good. I want quality as well as quantity.

    Great to hear everyone else is doing so well.

  9. Elizabeth Anne Mitchell November 4, 2011 at 11:42 pm #

    I’m impressed with all of you! Great job, each and every one. I am baby sea-turtle stepping ( or is that wobbling?) my way through the week, but wanted to come by and cheer all of you on! Woot, woot!

  10. Robin McCormack November 5, 2011 at 12:26 am #

    Hola! I made it to 5931 words this afternoon. My brain is tired so going to do some mind mapping and figure out where going from here. Think I’m going to write nonlinear and write scenes I’ve been thinking about instead of step by step. I tried to get up earlier every morning this past week but that was a no go, then kid, cats, and hubby and wonderful family members who usually don’t call me in the morning presented distractions. I need a little cheese with my whine. I’m hoping the clock falling back a hour will be an inducement to get up that hour earlier, since my body never really adjusted to the time change in the first place. I’m plugging away.

    Love the mashup. Just spent a while checking out galleycats postings. I decided not to use scrivener and stick with microsoft word because I can’t deal with the learning curve at the moment. Will wait til after november and use it to edit. Like the way it breaks up scenes. Will involve a lot of cutting and pasting from word. 🙂 But that’s later.

    You guys are doing great. I’ll have to hop in and do a few sprints at some point. Have a great weekend.

  11. Lauren Garafalo November 5, 2011 at 2:33 am #

    Hi Everyone!! Omg…this week. I feel like that could be my whole check in lol, but I suppose I’ll elaborate. Word count wise, I’ve managed to make my 2,000 words per day for a total of 8383. I’m excited about that!! I suppose it hasn’t been too bad, but the sinus headache, crazy week at work and misunderstanding loved ones has made it….interesting.

    I do all my meal planning on Sunday, including snacks and drinks. It takes a little while, but then it’s set for the whole week! For healthy snacks, I portion them out so I can just grab them quickly whenever I need them. Though I stocked up on Dr. Pepper & coffee for NaNo, I also got frozen fruit, oj, & bananas for smoothies!! They give as good an energy boost as the caffeinated stuff. It’s been really good for me – I hope that helps with ideas 🙂

    So glad to see everyone is doing well! Great mash up links, ladies!!

  12. TheWritingReader (@WritingReader) November 6, 2011 at 4:42 am #

    I’m at 8480 on Nov. 5. Right on target and going well. I’m a Rebel this year. I’m writing flash fiction or slice of life entries and posting them every day at my Tumblr blog. Putting them up for public consumption is scary (they aren’t edited! people will see I’m not perfect!) and motivating at the same time.

    • Lena Corazon November 6, 2011 at 6:16 pm #

      Oooh, I like that idea! And I know what you mean about the scariness of posting things that aren’t polished and perfect. All the flash fiction that I’ve posted is pretty raw, and while I go through and clean up stray errors and that sort of thing, I never spend more than a couple of hours pulling it together. It’s a good exercise, I think. 😀

  13. Juliana Haygert November 6, 2011 at 11:11 pm #

    Omg, just saw this check-in!

    Well, I started the week with a cold, but now I feel better and ended up with 16k.

    But I confess I’m losing interest in my story.
    I think I outlined it more than I’m used and now it doesn’t surprise me anymore … and I need a few surprises to keep me interested lol
    Worse: an idea is creeping in my mind lol

    Anyway, I vowed to finish the one I started and then work on the new one.

    Have a great week everyone!


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