The craft and business of writing and self publishing

NaNoWriMo: day 20

The KoboWriMo Team continues to rock the house! The current target word count for day 20 is just over 33,000 words, and although only one of us is there (Sebastien, of course–again–not that we’re keeping score or anything… well, actually, we totally are), the rest of us are still going strong.

Even our non-writer Christine has almost cracked 20K, which is amazing and we’re all so proud of her!

This week we’ve dubbed “NaNo-No-Nos,” and we asked the team about what mistakes they’ve made, and what pitfalls they’ve learned to avoid. Here are some of our insights:

 Mark Lefebvre Mark Lefebvre, Director, Kobo Writing Life

One thing I did wrong in my approach to NaNoWriMo (despite repeated urging from friends and other authors including, even, the great discussion about this with Chele Cooke in Episode 6 of the KWL Podcast), was I didn’t properly or fully outline the novella I’m writing. That has slowed me down as I’m trying to navigate the turns and twists of the unrolling novel.  The other thing I’ve done wrong is that I’ve let email and other online distractions pull me away from writing. Instead of writing FIRST THING when I get to my computer and then doing email, checking Facebook, etc, I’ve let those time-black-holes suck me in almost every time. And third, I haven’t written EVERY SINGLE DAY, meaning that when I return, I fall another 1667 words behind.

I’m a believer in learning from my mistakes – looks like I’m learning quite a bit this NaNoWriMo……

Christine Munroe Christine Munroe, US Manager, Kobo Writing Life

I have so many no-no’s (way more than yes-yes’s)!

The terrible cold I mentioned in the last post turned into a strep/bronchitis combo that really derailed my writing. So, fellow WriMos, take good care of yourselves – get rest, eat well, or at least take a minute to drink some OJ every once in a while! The next inevitable no-no’s were feeling defeated and like I should just give up. But once I was back on my feet I refocused, kept writing, and decided I would try my best, regardless of whether I made it to that 50k mark at the end of the month. If others are behind, or have hit a stumbling block akin to a terrible virus, don’t be too hard on yourselves. Keep up the great work!

 CamOK Camille Mofidi, EU Manager, Kobo Writing Life

Well, well, well… Week 2 of NaNoWriMo is definitely the right moment to think about the things that have been going wrong in my word count 🙂

After the excitement of Week 1 comes the blues of the second week. For some reason, it looks way harder to move from 20k to 30 or 40k than it was from 0 to 20k! Maybe because:

  • I haven’t correctly outlined my novel before starting
  • I have considered changing plot in the middle of the story – and ended up doing so, which was not exactly a good idea
  • I have spent too much time chatting on Facebook with other WriMos rather than writing – Yes, we were sharing concerns about our words count falling behind everybody else. It helps to know you’re not alone, doesn’t it?
  • One thing leading to another, I have skipped more and more days of writing – reading romance is so much easier than writing it!

Anyway, as George Bernard Shaw put it: “Success does not consist in never making mistakes but in never making the same one a second time.” Now is the time to stop complaining and get back to work!

profile Sarah Carless, Technical Writer, Publisher & Author Communications

It is so easy to fall behind so quickly. My biggest mistake this year has been to think “I can catch up later,” instead of preparing for days where I know I won’t have as much time to write. I really should get into the habit of “earning” my lighter writing days in advance, instead of trusting to an uncertain future.

Another important thing I have to keep in mind is to wrestle my inner editor to the ground and gag her. NaNoWriMo is no place for editing: it’s all about quantity, no matter how poor the quality is. I have to really focus and put in effort to keep from going back and switching one word for another, or to rephrase a sentence I just wrote. That’s what December is for!

seb small Sebastien Bago, Merchandiser, France

Despite my numbers which are online with the schedule, I know there’s one thing really dangerous when you try to write, and especially when you have deadline: an internet connection! This really is a trick. A trap. While writing, you sometimes need information or something, then you go looking for an answer. And then, bam, you get trapped. First, why not check your email? And check some sports results, or watch a funny video on YouTube to rest your brain a little bit. And one thing leading to another, you just lost couple of hours. It can go so fast.

So if I’d change something when sitting down to write at my chair, or couch, or whatever, I’d turn off my WiFi. 🙂

How about you? Have you found any pitfalls of productivity you now know to avoid? Let us know in comments!

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