NaNoWriMo 2018

Today is the last day of November, which means that by 11:59PM local time tonight, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is officially over. The goal of NaNoWriMo is to get authors to stop procrastinating and start writing their novels by giving them a word count goal (50,000 words) and a time period (the month of November, so 30 days) to get those words written.

This year, I unofficially participated in NaNoWriMo. I intended to start writing my novel in October and continue through November. Long story short, that didn’t happen. I spent October revising the characters and outline, things that needed to be done once I realized I had plot holes and a setting that needed more fleshing out. The good thing about that was I discovered new depths in my characters and created a better universe for them to live and breathe in, while adding and re-plotting several scenes.

November rolled around and I needed to put pen to paper (or rather fingers to keys). I started my first full draft on November 5th and wrote on all but three or four days the rest of the month, racing after the 50,000-word goal. Most of the month I was behind because I started late, but Thanksgiving saved me because I had four consecutive days off and wrote over 10,000 words in that time.

I’m a numbers guy, so here are the statistics from my first NaNoWriMo:

  • November 5th – 15th: 20,649 words
  • November 15th – 24th: 21,077 words (41,726 words total)
  • November 24th – 30th: 9,368 words (51,094 words total)
  • Grand total: 51,094 words (+1,094 from target)
  • Daily word count for November (30 days): 1,703 words/day
  • Daily word count for actual days writing (~23 days): 2,221 words/day

My book is not quite done yet. I expect to write 15,000 – 20,000 more words before I’m through, and then it will be editing time, so the numbers will fluctuate. As I write, I make notes on things I want to add, remove, or change later, and these things will affect the final word count somewhat.

All that aside, I enjoyed my first (unofficial) NaNoWriMo and highly recommend it to any author. If you don’t want to wait until next year, pick a month and make it your month to write. The key is to set goals so you keep moving forward. Even though NaNo (abbreviation of an abbreviation there) is over, I’m still setting milestones for myself; my goal is to keep writing at the same rate and have the first draft completed before Christmas. (Yes, that’s a gift to myself.)

More to come in the near future. Stay tuned.

Ten Things to be Thankful For

We’ve all heard the old saying to “count your blessings.” To many of us, that saying sounds corny and overused, and we go about our merry ways. We start to take things for granted.

Thanksgiving, for me at least, is a time to step back and reflect on those blessings that I take for granted. There are the usual things like family, friends, and food; there are also everyday things that, when I think about them, realize how different my life would be without them. Here are ten.

  1. Books — without them I would not be exposed to the ideas and information of great thinkers before me.
  2. The Internet — without it I would not be able to hunt down information nearly as quickly, or build and maintain relationships with people around the world.
  3. Running (purified) water — without it I might be dead, or at least very thirsty.
  4. Music — without it I would not appreciate art and beauty.
  5. Cars — without one I might not have been able to work through college and graduate debt-free.
  6. The Constitution — without it I would not have the freedoms I have today.
  7. Glasses — without them I could not see, and could never have scored my first (and only) goal in YMCA soccer as a boy.
  8. Education — without it I would not know what I know (and what I do not know), and would not have the job I have now.
  9. Dreams — without them I would not have entertainment while I sleep and burning ambitions for tomorrow.
  10. Salvation through Jesus Christ — without it I would be hopeless and dead in my sins.

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thess. 5:16-18, ESV)