Goal Crushing on TAPIF: Novel Edition

Steps to writing a novel:

  1. Come up with an idea
  2. Vomit all over your computer (or your notebook if you prefer to write by hand) until you have a first draft, because that’s exactly what a first draft is, WORD VOMIT

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Now you might be saying: “Wait, Emily, what did you do this month?”

WELL, let me tell you.

There is this thing called National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo that occurs every year in November. It’s a “contest” to write 50,000 words in one month.

So I did it. I wrote more than 50,000 words in a month.

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Here are my stats for the month: as you can see for most of the month I was either slightly behind or right on track. I hit 50,000 on the 27th of November 🙂 

I also “won” NaNoWriMo three years ago when I was studying abroad in Paris. I’ve also done a “camp NaNo,” which is essentially the same thing, making this the 3rd time I’ve completed a “Novel Writing Month.”

What I’ve learned from completing my 3rd NaNoWriMo* (if you’re a stickler this was technically only my 2nd November, but I completed Camp NaNo with the exact same 50,000 word count goal this past July)

  1. The key to attaining any goal is consistency and practice.

I have to admit. This month I didn’t know what half the plot of my novel was. I knew who the characters were (kind of–I only had half of their names picked out) and I knew there were going to be some sort of demons… and that was about it.

AND what kept me going, what kept me from getting “stuck” was to JUST WRITE. Sit down in front of my computer and click keys. Even if that meant I was just musing about my plot and characters or actually moving my characters through the story as long as I was putting words to the page I was making progress.

And that’s it.

Consistency.

You can’t finish a novel if you’re not willing to put in consistent daily work to finish it. –I would know, I have a silly little unfinished novel from middle school sitting in my bedroom at my parent’s house.

You: “So what’d you write about?”

Me: “Um, well, it’s Urban Fantasy, with a female protagonist, demons, and a blood splatter of romance… uh, here have a picture:”

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This is what we’d call a Novel Aesthetic. Basically a collection of photos I found that I feel describe my characters and my novel. 

You: “Wow that looks so cool!

Me: “Why thank you!

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You: “When can I read it??

Me: “Uh…

As I said at the beginning. First drafts are WORD VOMIT. The hardest thing in my opinion is writing the first draft. Getting the skeleton of the novel down. Then my writing process is to go back and add layers, add in some more three dimensionality to my characters, give people chemistry, intensify feelings, up the stakes, MAKE SURE THINGS ARE COHERENT. (Because I promise you when I reread this first draft something in it is going to make me, the author, go WTF)

5097d55985136ec473f551beb32d7728877d07c5e764e64201eda25ef220fff1
Same Rumple. I don’t know what I did to my main characters either, I blame it on the wine I drank while writing. 

So EDITING will come in the next several months. (So ask again in a couple of months if you still want to read it)

But moving on.

My work week during TAPIF (Teaching English in France) is 12 hours. So before I said yes to this program I knew I had to have plans for my alllll my other free hours so I wouldn’t waste a year watching Netflix. (So if you’re reading this blog and considering TAPIF, I highly suggest making a solid plan to fill up your free time productively!!)

So my goal has been to fill that with writing.

I’ve written/almost finished two whole novels in my first two months.

I’d say I’m crushing that goal pretty hard. 🙂

(Now back to the grindstone. I’m going to Berlin… tomorrow, so I’ve got some work to do!) Just wanted to give a tiny update to remind everyone I’m alive!

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