It’s the most wonderful time of the year – NaNoWriMo season!
National Novel Writing Month starts in just under three weeks. This will be my ninth year participating and (hopefully) my seventh win. It will also be my fifth year aiming for something more than the traditional 50k. Last year, I wrote 151k while working full-time as a teacher. The year before that, I wrote 500k while unemployed and going to school a few times a week.
This year I’m going for 1,000,000. Yes, you read that right. I’m going for a million words.
This is the craziest thing I’ve ever attempted in my life, and I’m including my year teaching. Other people have succeeded in writing a million words in a month, but I’ve never thought that I would try to be one of them. When I did 500k, I swore I would never try to write more than that. But then some other people on the forums – people I raced back in 2013 – decided they were going for the million, and I realized I had enough novel material to get me there, and I’m working from home and set my own hours, so I can basically have as much time as I want to write. Somehow, the idea wasn’t sounding so crazy anymore.
What does a million words look like? For most people, that breaks down to 33,333 words a day. For me, it’s a little more complicated because I’m going to be driving down to Georgia for five days over Thanksgiving break (Nov. 24-29), and I want to be able to spend that time with the family I rarely get to see, not spending 12+ hours a day writing. I also have a wedding to go to (also in Georgia) that will put me out of town from Nov. 6-9, though it’s for my boyfriend’s relative, so I anticipate writing on the way down and while there, breaking only for the actual wedding and reception.
This means that I’ll need to write more than average the other days if I’m going to reach my goal. I have 14 novels planned and another 80k worth of short stories that should get me to a million. I plan on writing one novel every two days, with the exception of the four novels that are 50k-55k each, which I hope to be able to write in a day. I’m looking at 30k-40k a day most days, which is 8-10 hours of writing a day – not counting breaks, which will definitely be needed.
The closer we get to November, the more nervous I am about my goal. The math makes it look relatively easy, especially since I can do 1k in about 10 minutes. That means 4k an hour is definitely sustainable, and I should be able to get a few 5k hours in there (I’ve already done that at least once and hope to get at least one 6k hour in by the end of the month). What the math doesn’t take into consideration is the strain this will put on my hands, the boredom I’m sure to feel with the novels that currently sound like a lot of fun, my puppy who is not going to like being ignored for hours a time – no matter how many treats and toys I give her in the meantime.
I’m not going to put my health at risk for this – if my hands start hurting more than normal, I’ll take a break. If I start hating myself and everyone and everything around me, I’ll dial it back a bit. That said, I really want to see if I can do this. I don’t know what I’ll be doing next year, so this might be my only year to try this. If nothing else, it’s the only year that so many other awesome people are also going for a million, so this is my only chance to see if I can keep up with them.
Just under three weeks. I can’t decide whether that’s too long to wait or not enough time to finish prepping everything, but I’m excited nonetheless. 🙂