The NaNoWriMo Halfway Point Check-In

Today is the fifteenth, so besides it being Tax Day, it is also the halfway mark for those of us participating in April’s National Novel Writing Month. I’d like to say I could write this post with my head held high, 25,000 words under my belt. At this point in the month the last time I attempted (and succeeded at) NaNoWriMo, I was well over the halfway mark. Now I look at my November self, all bragging and brushing the dirt off my shoulder, as my April self, and I kind of hate November me. Because honestly, this second go-round is hard.

I’m at a little over 16,000 words. Not bad, but not great. I’m rather average in the word count department. Right now my word count meter on the NaNoWriMo website tells me that at this rate I will finish by May 14th. So, instead of NaNoWriMo, it’s more like NaNoWriMo and a half. Last time I did it, I spent much more time preparing and wrote something that was more personal and easy for me to write. Now that I’m working for the first time in a genre that is very new to me (ahem, mystery YA), I feel like I have to take my time. You have to do a lot of careful building in order to earn your payoff when it comes to stories that rely on plot twists. This world I’m creating inside a fictional all-girls private school in Seattle has a mystery that involves six key players–that’s six different teen girls who need motives, desires, and personalities. That’s a lot of work, not to mention the research I have to do on the roller derby (just kidding, I love the derby and would go to a bout even if I weren’t writing about it).

I’ve already come to terms with my failure. There are only two weekends left in this month and I’m traveling for one of them. In fact, this month, I will have traveled three out of the four weekends (my planning skills for NaNoWriMo weren’t great). I’ve been busy with work, school, and my upcoming graduation. Blah blah, excuses excuses. But I’m done with that. So I didn’t do it (or probably won’t). I’ve done a little re-evaluating and decided that 30,000 is a better goal. Sometimes in this writing life, you have to re-prioritize.

The first night of the month I went to BINGO. Not a great start to NaNoWriMo. Plus, I didn't even win.
The first night of the month I went to BINGO. Not a great start to NaNoWriMo. Plus, I didn’t even win.

So, I’ll keep chugging along, not rolling out 2,000 words a day like it’s nothing, but instead really pushing for 1,000 a day. And I won’t beat myself up for not accomplishing what I set out to do in the timeframe I originally planned. This story isn’t going anywhere. It has only just begun. It needs a little coaxing, a little hand-holding, and we’ll get somewhere together.

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