NaNoWriMo: Starting With A Bang

NaNoWriMo: Starting With A Bang

In order to meet the minimum 50,000 word length for National Novel Writing Month, I need to produce 1,700 words or so every day in November. On the first day, I wrote 2,821.

If I keep that pacing up, I’ll be done by November 17, but I’m not kidding myself it will be that easy. One of the rules for NaNoWriMo is that you can’t do any actual writing ahead of the project’s official start. As such, I’ve been wandering around with ideas and half-formed sentences in my head for several months now.

Having been let off the leash and allowed to write, it’s no surprise that a lot of stuff has come gushing out without too much apparent effort. My suspicion is that as the text grows, I’ll produce less, since the temptation to edit and refine what I’ve already written will loom ever larger.

I’m working this week with the assumption that I need to assign two hours a day to novel writing, and I’m specifically placing those on my calendar. Past experience suggests my best writing time is early in the morning, but that’s already set aside for working on Lifehacker and other freelance commitments. I can’t use a fixed time every day either, as my work schedule varies a lot. After a week, I figure I’ll have some idea whether two hours is sufficient, whether I’d be better off assigning multiple short blocks, if I need to try and lock down a time of day, and whether I need any other tweaks to the system.

The other issue I’ve had to deal with early is choosing the best software for my writing needs, but that’s a topic I’ll cover in a full post later in the week. Suffice to say I’ve already changed my mind once and suspect I’ll do so again.

Throughout November, Angus Kidman will be blogging about his participation in NaNoWriMo to unearth lessons about writing, project management and creativity.


  • Congrats on exceeding the daily quota. I’m in the same boat, managed to write 3,500 words but that’s going to slow down dramatically once my half-formed ideas from earlier this year are down on paper. As for the urge to edit, my first 700 words need a complete makeover. I could rewrite them, expanding that section to around 2,000 words, but there’s no guarantee.

    Also, someone on the NaNo forums has managed over 10,000 words already. There are probably others too, which is a scary thought.

  • Heads up to that first day where you say, “oh, it doesn’t matter if I skip just one day…” It’s a killer to your motivation. Congrats on leaping out of the gates with a great start. Only 47179 words to go!

  • Sitting 3021 words ATM – if day one showed me anything it was that only writing the average required will create a problem later when I hit days when I can not write at all. So I’m trying to maker as big a safety margin as I can as early as I can.

  • Congratulations on being ahead of schedule.
    I am using Scrivener 2.0 on my MacBook Pro and am finding it a very helpful piece of software. I, for the time being anyway, am also ahead of the recommended daily minimum. If this keeps up I can get the software half price.
    I too am fighting the urge to edit the logorrhoea. Can I just leave it for a whole month?

  • 2224 Im trying not to burn out – Doing bits on the train to and from work, and some at lunch – have two pieces of advise running through my head. Stop when you know what happens next so you have something to start with as soon as you sit down, it also gives you mulling time, to play with what happens next, and also someone who is doing their very long thesis said to break it up into smaller blocks xing fringers I think if I can make it to day 5 and be on track Ill get there!

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