Meta Reflection Writing

NaNoWriMo 2022 Day 1

And so begins my eleventh NaNo!

A solid first day with 2700 words of prose on the page, over four hours of writing. Right now my stretch goal for the month is 70k / a complete first draft, but I’ll also be happy to hit 50k.

I’m logging my daily word count here, along with total writing time and what time of day I wrote, plus notes about energy or feelings. (I’m counting Caves as an hour of writing time even though they’re technically 45-52 minutes 🤷‍♀️) I’m hoping that over time I can see a pattern of the typical best time of day for me to write. As I started last year, I also plan to write a daily log reflecting on how the writing went.

It’s been a long time since I started a totally new prose project! Last year I kind of was working on a new project, but it was a reboot of my original NaNo novel from 2003. It’s daunting to develop two new characters’ voices and ways of thinking. But, I’m excited and hope to have some fun this month!

This is kind of a test to see how I like “full time” writing, and if it’s something I’d even be interested in doing going forward, or if I prefer balancing slower paced writing with a day job.

Honestly, it’s also been a while since I sat down to write a bunch of new prose, period. I’ve been revising, revising, revising the past few years, so I’ve needed to write chunks of new prose and work them in to existing scenes, but not really fresh scenes wholesale.

The words flowed nicely this morning, especially considering it’s a new project that I’m not sufficiently prepared for 😉 This evening’s writing block was a bit tougher going, but the scene was longer and more complicated, and overall I wound up writing about the same pace.

I only wrote from my male main character’s POV today. I started by writing two flashback scenes that led to his misbelief (finished one, still working on the second). These probably won’t get used — they’re more for me to figure out what happened to him and explore his character, perspective, and voice in a scene that isn’t important — unlike the opening scene, which is very important. So far he’s a bit more talkative than I expected, but since this is in the past before his wound, it makes sense that he’d act a little more openly. I also have to watch the vocab — keep wanting to use words he wouldn’t — and hold back on the emotive descriptions.

As has worked relatively well for me in the past, I started each scene with a brief bullet point outline. It might be worth trying to also start each session with another more detailed outline of just what I’ll write during that session, since I found myself wandering a bit. Whenever I noticed I was stuck, I simply jumped ahead to the next piece of known action, and can go back to fill in the gaps later (or frankly just not write them at all if I don’t need to use the scene).

I have to laugh, because after my first block of writing prose this morning, I was exhausted and collapsed for an hour nap 😂 That brain was working hard!

I gave my male main character a best friend, and even though I haven’t even named him, I already love him and am sad I need to rupture their relationship for several years prior to the story timeline 🥺 But it will be so so sweet when they patch things up later in the book.

By Tracy Durnell

Writer and designer in the Seattle area. Freelance sustainability consultant. Reach me at She/her.

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