NaNoWriMo Day Five

So here we are at the start of Day Five of the month long novel writing project. This is the first of my promised updates on how things are going.

I dived headlong into NaNoWriMo at midnight on November 1st. I wrote a quick burst of 750 words and then went to bed. Why did I do this? Because the promo email from the good folks at NaNoWriMo suggested I do so. Apparently I am a sucker for not-so-subliminal suggestions.

God alone knows how long it’s been since I tried writing fiction in the wee small hours. Must have been back in the 90s. It was kind of pleasant, tapping away at the keyboard while everybody else is asleep. I can see me doing it again sometime.

When I got up in the morning my neck was a bit sore and my arm a bit numb. I decided to write in bursts of 5 to 15 minutes in the hopes of avoiding a bad attack of RSI. By the end of the day my arm was still numb so I’m not sure how well that worked.

Burst writing was an eye-opener. I am a 9 to 5 sort of writer. I have fixed working hours, mostly during what most people think of as office hours. I tend to work in 25 minute pomodoros. My thinking was that I needed time to settle in and settle down and get my creative juices flowing. Turns out I was wrong. It’s possible for me to sit down for 5 minutes, write 200 words and then wander off and do something else.

It’s a pretty good way of doing things at the moment because I can get some typing done while the toddler is watching cartoons or deep in play. I can sit down in a cafe and drink a cup of coffee and get part of another scene down.

I know this because I spent part of Saturday doing it. It has already made my participation in NaNoWriMo worthwhile as far as I am concerned. It have written at times and in places outside my comfort zone. It has shown me how to eke out extra bits and bobs of productivity.

Saturday ended with me having written 2000 words. It was a pretty good start considering there was a lot of family activity, shopping, a dinner party and various other stuff going on.

I followed that on Sunday by racking up another 2000 words. This time 750 words were written after 9 pm in the local McDonalds. During the day, I picked up a nice limited edition Lonely Mountain themed paper notebook to keep track of my word counts in. I have inscribed NaNoWriMo: An Unexpected Journey on the title page. My shoulder was now numb and my neck was aching.

Monday is one of the days I am on child-minding duties. It’s a frantic whirl of chasing a toddler around the flat, taking him for walks, keeping him amused and telling him stories.

My new Plantronics microphone arrived from Amazon just as we were returning from our regular trip down the Funicular. (If you are ever in Prague I recommend you try this by the way.) I decided to put it to good use while Will was having his post-lunch nap.

I used DragonDictate on the MacBook. I needed to do some training to set up the new microphone but once that was out of the way I managed an easy 600 words. Speech recognition seemed to work well. Unfortunately, when I returned to using it later in the evening, things did not go quite so well. This flakiness is quite typical of DragonDictate on the Mac. There are times I swear by it and there are times when I swear at it. Still I managed another 2000 words or so. A pattern is emerging here.

Tuesday swung around, my first actual work day of the week. I thought good– I’ll put in a full day and add 5000 words to my total. Ho-bloody-ho! DHL decided there would be customs problems with importing my Roost notebook stand. My MacBook went on the fritz and my arm got really sore. The email program on my Windows PC started to give me gip as well. I spent an hour sorting this. Anything that could go wrong did go wrong.

I buckled down, switched on Dragon Naturally Speaking on my games machine and managed to write 3000 words on the novel. I would probably have managed more but Radka was at home with the baby. I always feel self-conscious dictating fiction when there are other people in the flat.

And what about the writing itself? Going pretty well considering I have only the vaguest of notions as to where I am heading. I started with what I thought was going to be a sinister scene and found that I was writing a comedy. My imagination often pulls such stunts. I’ll just need to drag the story kicking and screaming back on course.

So that was my first four days of NaNoWriMo. I am looking at a current total word count of 9103.

Once, I’ve finished this post, my plan is to devote today to making some progress while waiting for DHL to deliver the Roost. I shall risk of incurring the wrath of the Bad Luck gods and announce I’m aiming to add another 5000 words. Let’s see how that goes. There will probably be an earthquake.

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2 Replies to “NaNoWriMo Day Five”

  1. At least for me, burst writing is the only way to get anything done. I think I wrote most of my last book on my Win 8.1 tablet on the bus or waiting for late IT clients to show up.

    Don’t worry about swearing at DragonDictate – if you did, it would likely transcribe it as “cluck glue, you rudderducking peace of sheet.”

    1. Burst writing has been a real revelation to me, Jonathan. I used to think I needed uninterrupted blocks of about half an hour minimum to write, but I am finding I can easily string together bursts of 5 to 15 minutes and get a surprising amount done. I confess I have been teaching Dragon Naturally Speaking to swear. Also I was quite surprised by the number of Lovecraftian references it picks up.

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