NaNoWriMo 2015: Week 3 check-in.


All righty, then. Home stretch?

Here we are, three weeks into National Novel Writing Month, and writers all over are continuing to pound keys like there’s no next month. A few I know have already hit the 50,000-word goal. Meanwhile, here in Daytonland, things are still moving along at something just under cruising speed. The good news is that from this point forward, the only project on my plate is the novel-in-progress. I’ve cleared all the other pending items from my list of Stuff To Do.

Last week was when a lot of that stuff was being addressed. First, there was finishing up revisions to the manuscript for 24: Trial by Fire in order to address notes from my editor on that book. I also had the copyedited manuscript for the Mars Attacks novella show up mid-week, requiring attention. Finally, I had to finish going through the review galley pages for Elusive Salvation, the Star Trek novel that will be the sequel to 2013’s From History’s Shadow.

Even with all of that, I still managed to gain ground on the work in-progress, which currently stands at 29,654 words. That’s still behind where I’d rather be, but there’s still plenty of time on the game clock.

All right, fellow NaNoWriMo-ers, how’s it going? As always, there’s no judging in this space. We’re all friends, here.

Write on, right?


NaNoWriMo 2015: Week 2 check-in.


So, halfway point, right? More or less?

That’s what it says on the calendar. Well, that’s what it’ll say after tomorrow, but work with me, here.

Yep, we’re two weeks into National Novel Writing Month, and many writers are barreling at full speed (or speedier!) toward the 50,000-word goal. Others, like me, are kinda sorta plodding along, though I at least am confident I’ll find a faster gear in the next few days as other things get shuffled off my plate.

Though I’m not yet done pushing and poking for the day, my count on the work in-progress currently sits at 18,360 words. Less than where I’d like to be at this point, but still well within striking distance.

What the hell have I been doing? Well, today was wrapping up my edits on the Mars Attacks novella. This included an on-again/off-again email back-n-forth with one of my editors on the project as I addressed this or that note, which made the process even more fun than it already has been so far. I’ve also been working on edits to the 24: Trial by Fire manuscript. Once I have the revised version back to my editor, I still have to review galley pages for Elusive Salvation, the Star Trek novel that’s a sequel to 2013’s From History’s Shadow.

So, hey! Staying busy.

If you’re taking the NaNoWriMo bull by the horns, how’s it going? Again and as always, no judging here; we’re all buds.

To the keyboard!

NaNoWriMo 2015: Week 1 check-in.


All right, folks! We’re officially one week into the insanity that is National Novel Writing Month, the 30-day writing marathon designed, so far as I can tell, to induce you to crying into your pillow or the alcoholic beverage of your choice.

Nah, it’s not really that bad. Kinda.

On our way to the 50,000-word goal, I can report that as of this morning, I sit at 11,520 words toward the work in-progress. I might put a bit more toward it today, but the primary item on my writing agenda is addressing editor’s notes for another manuscript that I already let sit a week or so while I was finishing the Mars Attacks novella. I’d like to wrap that up this weekend so that I can get back to work on the new novel starting Monday morning. I’m really not worried about hitting or missing the NaNoWriMo target count, but it does add a bit of extra kick to the proceedings.

So, for those of you who’ve opted to partake of this year’s NaNoWriMo shenanigans, how’s it going? Find your zone yet? Having fun? Tell us what’s going on in your writer’s corner. No judging; we’re all friends here.

Then, once you’ve done that…get your ass back to work. 😀

NaNoWriMo 2015: Who’s playing?

NaNoWriMo-logoYep, November is fast approaching (you know…again). Many writer types know that even with holiday feasting, kids being out of school, relatives coming to visit, holiday shopping, and whatever else might come down the trail, November seems to be the perfect month for eschewing the rest of humanity, huddling up in your favorite writing corner, and trying to knock out the lion’s share of a novel’s first draft.

Uh huh.

That’s right:  November, of course, is National Novel Writing Month, a 30-day odyssey of word pushing, key stabbing, stress inducing, existence questioning fun in which writer hopefuls block out most if not all distractions with the singular goal of racking up 50,000 (or more) words toward the writing of a novel.

For reasons I’m really not sure I’ll ever understand, I’ve decided to have a go at it again, this year. It helps that I have a contracted novel project with a deadline all its own, and adding the NaNoWriMo chaser gives me extra incentive to keep this particular train on its tracks. So with that in mind, here’s me throwing my hat into the ring: Dayton Ward – Star Trek: Legacies Book III – Purgatory’s Key

It’s worth noting that I’m splitting the writing chores on this book with my hetero life mate, Kevin Dilmore, so hitting the NaNoWriMo goal should (in theory) get me in the ball park of where I need to be to write my portions of the novel. In reality, my contributions likely will end up being slightly short of that mark, but it’s a good baseline.

So, anybody else taking the plunge? If so, hook up with me on the NaNoWriMo site. If I’m feeling particularly inspired, I’ll post regular updates here and we can all report our progress, free of pressure or judging or any of that crap. We’re all friends, right?

If you’re opting to do this and it’s your first time undertaking this challenge, I’m going to throw out some hints I wrote a few years ago that can hopefully help with keeping your eyes on the prize. Check it out:

Manage your pace. You’ve got so many words to write, and so many days to write ‘em. Don’t over-think this. Figure out a words-per-day rate, and shoot for that. Take this in chunks, rather than concentrating on the 50k mark. It’ll start adding up pretty quickly. 50,000 divided by 30 days is 1,667 words a day. Sounds like a lot, right?

Now, break that down further. 250 words an hour is a figure I like to use, because that’s an old school measure for a page—give or take a dozen words or so—when you’re using Courier 12-pt font and double-spacing your manuscript. 250 words an hour isn’t a terribly stress-inducing pace, and doing that for seven hours gets you your daily quota and some extra padding, and you can do it in easy to manage chunks that you spread throughout the day. You know, one or two before work, one at lunch, one after work, and the rest in the evening. If you need or want to adjust that number up or down or how you spread it across the day, knock yourself out. The point is to find a pace that works for you on a consistent basis, but doesn’t stress you out while you’re trying to hit it.

Don’t kill yourself. Quit for the day if you hit your quota. If, on the other hand, you get froggy and write way beyond that, then give yourself a break the next day. If you miss a day, then work a bit harder over a few days to get back on pace, rather than trying to gain it all back in one chunk. Or, just recalculate a new per-day rate to absorb the words from the missed day. Again: Chunks. Pace. Consistency. Repeat.

Write now. Edit later. Your goal is to keep pushing forward, every day, all the way to the finish line, and you can’t do that if you keep going back over the stuff you already wrote. We all have an inner editor, wanting us to revise that paragraph or page we just finished, or who keeps telling us that chapter we wrote yesterday needs a rewrite. Ignore that skeevy bastard. This exercise isn’t about having a perfect, polished, ready to rock manuscript at the end of November. That’s what December’s for. So, tell that inner editor to sit down and shut his suck hole. Better yet, strap a ball gag on that mother fucker and stick him in a closet until the writing part is over.

My personal take on NaNoWriMo is that it’s a mechanism for instilling some structure and discipline to your writing routine and finding a way to integrate it with all the other shit you’ve got going on in your life. As with anything else, it can be as useful or useless as the effort you put into it. This sort of thing’s not for everybody, so if you give it an honest try and discover it’s not for you, then screw it. Find a method that better suits you.

Okay then….who’s in? Throw your name and NaNoWriMo link in the comments.

Pondering NaNoWriMo 2014.

writerLooking at the calendar, it seems that November is almost upon us. With it, in and around Thanksgiving, holiday shopping and gearing up for the War on Christmas(tm), other folks have decided that November also is a great month to add a writing challenge.

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is an annual event in which those who choose to undertake the challenge strive to write 50,000 words toward a novel during the month of November. By itself, it’s not an unreachable goal by any stretch, but my previous attempts to participate have always ended up being disasters of one sort or another. To be honest, I’ve always thought November was a lousy month for this sort of thing. Trying to balance that effort with the dayjob, kids, chores and tasks to do around the house, and eventually the Thanksgiving and other stuff that happens during the month (people visiting, kids out of school, etc.) always managed to derail me.

However, this year would seem to be different. My dayjob now, essentially, is that of “writer,” so I have every reason to hit the gas and see about knocking out a significant portion of my next novel project in one 30-day sprint, right?

Seems legit.

Is anybody else thinking of giving this a go? Should we form our own little club here? I could post a daily update with my status, and you’d be free to chime in with your own progress reports. No judging or shaming; just a place for us all to cheer each other on as we give NaNoWriMo a run for its money.

Anybody interested? If you want to be “writing buddies,” you can find me on the NaNoWriMo site by clicking on this linky-type thing right here: NaNoWriMo – Dayton Ward