Writing a Novel – Reaching a Word Count Goal

Last night, I reached my NaNoWriMo goal for November 2020 – by writing 50,000 words on my novel A Thousand Years. I actually wrote 51,486 words in the month of November. It’s the first time I’ve “won” NaNoWriMo though I’ve participated on and off since 2009. On November 2nd, I wrote this post, wondering if I’d really be able to do it this time.

It’s not the first novel I’ve written. But writing a novel isn’t easy. It takes time, it often requires an emotional investment or takes an emotional toll. Last month I made a decision to write quickly and to get it all out – as quickly as possible, not editing or changing anything I’d written on the first go round. So while it’s not the first I’ve written, it is the first that I’ve been so single-minded and dedicated to writing.

The novel is definitely longer than 50,000 words – which I mostly expected. I don’t think I’ll actually finish the novel in the next two days because that’s another 30,000 words I expect to write. I may, however write the final chapter before moving onto the second draft which will add the additional words and chapters I’m missing.

This experience has been a huge accomplishment for me personally. I’ve written so much – so many words in my lifetime – fiction and non-fiction. But I’ve yet to be able to dedicate time nearly every day to furiously reach a goal in such a short amount of time. My first completed novel took a ridiculously long time to write and it’s not what it could be.

So excuse me while I pat myself on the back for accomplishing this word count goal. This book holds a special place in my heart. I hope I can do it justice as I begin working on the 2nd draft in December.

For a few vignettes that can be found in the novel, go here, here, or here. Or the one that started it all, here.

Halfway There – a Novel in Progress!

NaNoWriMo, NaNoWriMo 2020, Elaina Avalos

Yesterday, I wrote 2,434 words bringing me to a total of 26,002 words. I’m halfway there! While I think the novel will be over 50,000 words – the goal for NaNoWriMo is 50,000.

I have to say – I will never again return to writing the old way. My first draft is a first draft through and through. As I go, I think of things I’d like to change and make notes for the 2nd or 3rd drafts. I’m getting the overall story “on paper” without touching what I’ve written, with the hope of going back in on the second draft adding more description and some of the writing that I most love to do – to make my characters and locations come alive.

When I wrote Chasing Hope it took me ages (and ages). I’m my own worst critic. I wrote, deleted, wrote some more. Deleted. Edited. Over and over the pattern went. It took me so long. And it’s still not the book I want it to be. I plan on re-writing it someday.

The other thing that slows me down is that I will find myself going down a research rabbit hole when there’s something I need to learn more about, a house I have in mind – as my protagonist’s house, etc. I have tried to reduce that significantly this time. A few evenings ago, I was halfway to my daily word count goal and spent a little time on research. Last night, after I’d reached my goal, I did a little more.

My plan is to spend more time on that for the second draft. Although not exactly research, another issue that needs updating in subsequent drafts is that my timeline is allll jacked up because I’m changing things as I go – as the story makes more sense and comes into greater focus. The main characters both have children. I want the kids to all be younger now that I’ve started working on it, for instance. So that’s one reason my timing is jacked. Part of what will need to be worked out is just that – when I truly want to start this story, how long I want my protagonist to be apart from her love interest, and therefore how old the kids are when the novel begins.

I’m excited to have gotten so far, so quickly. For me, this is a huge deal. I’m celebrating today with Carolina Panthers football, a mimosa, and yeah – writing.

A Thousand Years – NaNoWriMo Update

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It has been a little over a week since I started writing furiously on my new novel. Here’s my A Thousand YearsNaNoWriMo update: I’ve written 18,154 words so far. I’m so proud of myself. Why even deny it? I’m excited.

I am working really hard at not doing things I normally do when it comes to writing. The biggest thing that slows me down is that I can’t resist the urge to edit as I go. I will often go back and read my fiction to remember what I’ve written. That inevitably leads to me editing, as I pick at the first draft. Nearly every writer I have ever read says this isn’t such a great idea. And yet I’ve always done it. Doh!

I haven’t done much reading this time. When I did read a couple of days back, I definitely saw the issues. But I let it go. I’m focusing on getting the skeleton of this novel down and reaching at least 50,000 words this month.

With the election this week and watching non-stop news, I fell behind on the momentum I gained early. Mostly because my anxiety over the results kept me . . . uninspired. That said, I did write here or there – just not as much. I’m still doing pretty good though. The NaNoWriMo counter consistently shows I need to write less than my own personal word count goal (which I love).

I hit my word count goal a little before 4:00 PM today and decided to take a break, to work on getting ready for my work week and decorating more of my apartment for Christmas. But a true sign that the words and inspiration are flowing, is the fact that I’m bummed I had to stop (when I reached my word count goal for the day). This is a great feeling. I’m sure my fellow writers understand.

Are you writing? Are you hitting your word count goal? What’s keeping you going these days?

Chasing Goals

I started writing my new novel on October 31st – writing over my daily goal. Yesterday, I wrote until I had surpassed my writing goal by a bit – for a total of 5,952 words so far.

I will be posting my daily word count on my NaNoWriMo profile (https://nanowrimo.org/participants/elainamarie). I won’t update here until I hit major goals. But I wanted to share if you’re still trying to decide whether to start . . .

This is your sign – start writing. I’m chasing goals. And on this chilly Monday, I wanted to encourage you to chase some of your own – especially if you’re a writer.

NaNOWriMo

Tomorrow kicks off National Novel Writing Month! Did you know there was such a thing? Well . . . there is. And for the last 11 years I’ve started and never finished. This is a thing I do. Start. Not finish. 👎🏼

So, if you read here you know that since about August I’ve been posting flash fiction & a prologue that’s part of a new novel I’m working on. It’s actually a series. In the month of November, I’m sure there will be a million distractions – thanks to the job that pays the bills – but I’m going to write every dang day. I may not hit my word count goal by November 30th, but I’m sure going to try.

If you’re a fellow writer, are you doing NaNOWriMo this year? And if so, find me there and add me as a buddy. I could use a kick in the pants when I slow down and would love to be spurred on by others working toward the same goal.

You can find me, here: https://nanowrimo.org/participants/elainamarie.

Good luck to my fellow writers!