It’s been a while since I’ve posted on the blog, and I apologize. After restarting Ain’t No Grave when it fell through the first week of NaNoWriMo, I’ve been putting in a lot of hours to try and catch up with the word count, and it’s only in this last week that I did start hitting the mark. I don’t often hit the mark exactly, maybe I’ll be off a few hundred words or so, but that’s better than being off by a few thousand words. Those words that I’m off by, I make up the next day.
As of this writing, Ain’t No Grave is just shy of 39,000 words. Momentum’s built up with it, and I’m finding it a lot easier to get the words out. There are still a few sluggish points here and there each day, but they don’t overwhelm me like when I was trying to get six thousand words written each day.
One thing that’s kept me going has been visual stimulus. The NaNoWriMo website allows you to update your word count and see how close or distant you are from your daily goal, and seeing the bar rise little by little drives me onward little by little. I keep telling myself, “You’re almost there, Mario.”
But that only goes so far. My target goal 100,000 words, not 50,000. No, I’m not trying to get that much done in one month. I’m not that crazy. So as far as I’m concerned, NaNoWriMo is a two-month affair. I’m doubling up and hoping to get another 50,000 words written by the end of the year.
What’s been helping me is a word-tracker program that I found on another blog for artist Svenja Liv; the link for this particular post is here. I stumbled upon it by accident after Googling “NaNoWriMo word trackers“. This is an enormously helpful Excel spreadsheet. I tweaked with it to fit my two-month time frame, and it only took me an hour, tops, to do. That’s the beauty of it, it’s extremely user-friendly. I sent a copy of it to a writer friend of mine in Idaho named Lee and he responded with, “Dude, this is exceptional! And it can be adjusted for anything! Sweet find!“
And speaking of writer friends, that another thing I’ve noticed from NaNoWriMo: your writer friends seem more vocally supportive around this time, kind of like how people try to be a little more generous during the December holidays. Lee and I shot emails back and forth recently and he suggested that we swap drafts when we finish to give each other feedback. On top of that, he said that my premise of a zombie survival story is always a classic. Now, I consider Lee to be way more talented than I am, so to hear that was a big morale booster.
Whether or not you’re participating in NaNoWriMo, what I‘ve learned through this experience is how important it is to keep in touch with your peers. Writing is a very solitary experience. It has to be because only you can write the words for your story, and that usually involves finding quiet seclusion to get the work done without distractions. But that same seclusion can cut you off from people, so it’s always important to get up, grab some air, and call up a few folks to see how their doing.