To Recharge or Not to Recharge (NaNoWriMo Update – Week One)

I’ve been writing every day for a solid week on the sequel to my recently finished novel (as yet to be published, or officially announced) as part of NaNoWriMo. That’s National Novel Writing Month, if you’re not familiar. It’s been a lot of fun, but I’m also putting in a lot more hours than I had been on the previous one, just to make sure I can make this 50k words in 30 days deadline. Personally, I’m shooting for being done by Thanksgiving, so I can relax with family. And I’m on track for now.

But today, I’m wiped out. I haven’t written a word.

I only had a vague notion of what this book was to be about when I started. I’ve done a little mind mapping, but not enough to get the whole picture. I’ve been just staying one step ahead of my actual writing, with the idea for the next section showing up a day or two before I needed to write it. I’m hoping that, at the least, this trend will continue, but I’d feel a lot more comfortable if I had the whole thing planned out. As it is, I know how my protagonists are going to get into trouble, but not how they are going to get out of it.

I’ve gotten about 2000 words every day — mostly more, but a couple times, less. It’s been flowing fairly well, though I consistently get bogged down in details that I feel I just have to know before continuing the story. Sometimes, this is true; mostly, it is not. Yet, I do it anyway. And I do think my story is better for it, but it slows me down.

Some fun things are happening in this sequel. Of course, I don’t want to reveal anything yet, since the first one isn’t even out, but it’s an exciting new adventure for my protagonists.

But I’m tired today. It’s Sunday. I’m not entirely sure I will write on it, even though, here I am spending time writing this. If I don’t work on the novel, it will sabotage me getting my “10 Days in a Row” badge this coming Tuesday, and it will completely ruin my chances of getting my “30 Days in a Row” badge. I’ve already earned my 5k and 10k words badges. Honestly, I don’t care all that much about the badges, but they are fun ways to keep you motivated. So, maybe I’ll write a few hundred words, just so I will have done something, but it sounds really nice to just curl up on the couch and watch Gotham or something.

Here’s my word count breakdown so far:

  • Day 1: 1837
  • Day 2: 2143
  • Day 3: 2054
  • Day 4: 2560
  • Day 5: 2377
  • Day 6: 2102
  • Day 7: 1803

Total: 14876

I’m about 30% there. Not bad. I just hope I can keep up the pace. Today, I can’t decide if it would be better to lay off and recharge, or to charge ahead and pound out another 2000. I’m usually someone who needs a lot of recharging. Caffeine and determination can only get me so far. I need rest and recuperation, and probably a beer.

What do you do when writing? Do you need to recharge and walk a bit when running a marathon? Do you take a full on margarita break by the side of the road, grinning at all those poor sods sweating and grunting toward the finish line? Or do you slam an energy drink and power it out at a sprint? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Tristram Lowe

Tristram Lowe, Los Angeles, CA