Not Noveling during NaNoWriMo

2016-11-17-15-12-41I don’t regret my choice to not work on the first-draft of a novel during November of 2016. Watching the words about digital inclusion grow, especially the words about our partners, was great. I wrote more stuff about computers, digital divide, and how to bridge that than I wrote since the start of PBDD. But it does go slower to work on lots of smaller items.

When I’m working on a novel, I often get caught up in a scene, trying to put it down as quickly as I can, especially when I’m writing dialogue. There isn’t much dialogue with partner profiles, and not as much in a short story as with a novel. So I didn’t have any days of writing more than 5,000 words in a day, and often it took a while to write the last 500 of my goal of 2,000 a day. I even settled for around 1,000 a day for a while. But I wanted to finish by Thanksgiving, so had to pick up my pace a bit. There were many excuses, some of them valid, but mostly that I often didn’t feel like writing, and without one project that I was trying to finish, it was harder to push myself.

I also didn’t edit anything else during November, so that freed up some time. I read novels in November, which was very unusual for me. It also contributed to the feeling of having plenty of time. Not sure if that’s a bad thing.

It was no problem averaging 20,000 steps a day during November, especially since the weather was very, very nice for that time of year. Warm, sunny, not the typical November weather. It was nice to take walks outside. At first, I updated my kindle with the latest version of what I was writing, but I found that I didn’t need to work on a story while walking and it didn’t work very well to work on a partner profile while walking.

Writing poems was unexpected fun. That’s not something I do while working on a novel, but it seems almost the first step when I’m working on a short story. I feel a real sense of accomplishment after some of the poetry, which surprised me a bit. Then again, I often use poetry to help remember things. I once wrote poems about different types of wireless access, and to keep straight the 40 plays/comedy/shows I saw during a week at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

It was also nice to write a bunch of potential blog posts exploring a number of themes. I have a lot of material there as well as the digital inclusion stuff.

All in all, I’m pleased with what I wrote during November. But I missed working on a novel. Which means I was eager to get back to editing my novels. That’s a good thing.

One possibility for next year’s NaNo is to work on book four in my French series. I could even start working on the outline in a few months since I don’t want to write 100,000 words in November anymore. It’s too hard on my body to be that focused. Two years ago, I started in September and wrote about a thousand words a day until November when I wrote two thousand. I’m thinking of starting with five hundred words a day and not having to write every day, so that would require starting even earlier. Another option is to write the outline and a few scenes one November, then write the novel the next, but I’m not sure I want to wait that long to get the first draft down. I have a few ideas for book four already.

It’s been a while since I wrote a novel slowly. This could be a good one to work on that way.

About Katherine Lato

Writer, thinker, observer and participant in life.
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