NaNoWriMo 2021 – Day 1

Well, today was a huge success as far as NaNo goes. It was also a success in general–I actually got to write! I haven’t been able to devote time to work for about a week, and forget about grabbing ten or fifteen minutes here and there: I’m bad at focusing in short spurts when the time is bookended by other things. But today? Today I woke up early, and I sat down with my laptop, and I did 9 sprints of 15 minutes each throughout the day (don’t worry, I did lots of other stuff too), and came out the other end with 3,011 new words.

My average is at 334 words/15 minutes which is lower than I’d like, but I’m out of practice when it comes to straight up drafting. I’m relearning to just write, ignoring mistakes and struggling for that adjective on the tip of my tongue, so I’m slow right now, but I’ll get back in the habit. The most useful thing has been this outline I’ve got–it’s amazing. I mean, I know exactly what I’m supposed to do because, for once, Past Ashley actually came through and set up Future Ashley (Present Ashley?) for actual success. So now when I have a new idea, it’s built off this existing framework, and I’m able to add in details early on.

Example: today I wrote about some swamp travel. I already plotted out the name of the swamp, how they would traverse it, and where they would end up. I also knew the conflict they’d encounter in the swamp, though I originally had one event occur before another and decided to switch them just this morning (which ate up some of my time because I had to reorganize events). But as I wrote, I realized I needed a minor, introductory conflict to the swamp, and since I didn’t need to fret about “what’s going to happen in this stupid swamp?” I was able to brainstorm a quick pseudo-attack by a leech that let them demonstrate some relationship and personality dynamics early on. Without the outline, or with a more vague one that just said “so, they go through the swamp and then get to the manor,” I would have been stuck on figuring out what gets in their way, but since I knew, I was able to drill down to specifics. “I know they’re going to encounter a spoiler, so what would be a nice transition into this action sequence?”

Also here’s the makeshift cover I threw together in Canva just for NaNo. I’m having a cover professionally done in the future, but in the meantime, I like having something to look at that isn’t NaNo’s auto generated one. I still need a title for this thing though!

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