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NaNoWriMo: Day 1 leaves the starting gate like a sleepy piglet

Nanowrimo Day 1In the week leading up to Nov. 1 (the first day of National Novel Writing Month), I was full of potential, excitement and opportunity about the novel I was going to come up with.

My prep work on display. In the week leading up to NaNoWriMo, I outlined several scenes to keep me occupied for the first week or so of writing.

My prep work on display. In the week leading up to NaNoWriMo, I outlined several scenes to keep me occupied for the first week or so of writing.

But as the costumed and sugar-fuelled hours of Oct. 31 waned, that familiar anxiety began to creep its way back into me. I would actually have to put words to paper Scrivener document in the morning.

And when that morning came (it was a sleepy-headed battle against our third Halloween party of the night before), I still felt like the words weren’t ready to come.

Lucky for me, I had work to do. I finished edits on a client’s memoir project and submitted a First Draft(!) of a First Chapter of a book to the client for review. It was invigorating.

Next, I checked on my one NaNoWriMo writing buddy to see what she’d accomplished while I was sleeping. She’d pounded out enough words to get me inspired to start and not so many that I felt like I was already in the hole. (I’d browsed the NaNo forums earlier in the morning to see that some people were up around 5,000 already. What!?)

I texted her: “Congrats on your first words! Mine are still waiting.”

She told me she took advantage of the “Word Sprints” that NaNo was doing on Twitter @NaNoWordSprints. They provide an optional prompt, a starting point (“:10 past the hour”) and a length of time (“you have 15 minutes this sprint”) and you write away.

Properly stoked with the knowledge I could write for just a few minutes to get things started and knowing I’d have to get dressed and go to work eventually, I set the timer on my phone for 17 minutes.

And I did it. I got those words onto the page.

I read somewhere that a story generally begins in a state of normalcy before the action starts to unfold. With this being a chick lit novel (the rom com of books), it wasn’t as if the action was going to dramatically involve a wizard or anything. I gave myself the most basic of outlines for the first scene:

Notes to self for the first scene of the novel

Notes to self for the first scene of the novel

This opening scene turned out to be mostly dialogue, which made things move quickly. It’s also loosely based on an experience I had at a previous job, which meant I could fill in the details from memory, not just creative juices and I think that’s what I need to do early on, as I get my novel chops worked out.

Word Count for Day 1: 566 (behind schedule)

49,434 words to go to win

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Filed under: Blog, Writing

About the Author

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I am a writer living under a pile of scrap paper and unopened fan mail from the cable company. I believe a messy desk is simply a sign of inspiration waiting to be uncovered. But I’m biased. More from me on Twitter: @zoeywrites

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