This year for NaNoWriMo, I decided to take on the 50k5days challenge. I had first thought about doing it last year, but that lasted all of… oh, I don’t know… 2 hours? LOL But this year, with the craziness that I see coming at the end of the month with work, family, kids’ school stuff, holidays, husband going out of town on business for a week, yadda yadda yadda, I realized that this would be the best time to take on the challenge. It helped that NaNo began at midnight on a Saturday. I had nearly two hours of time to write at the kick-off party, went home, crashed for a few hours, then wrote when I woke up (with my daughter beside me, as she wrote her novel form the Young Writer’s Program). Then it was off to a 3 hour write-in that I host at a local bookstore. I didn’t get nearly as much writing done there as I normally do, and I was a little disappointed. I was cold, I’d forgotten my headphones, and I was just having a difficult time concentrating. So, I did what any good NaNoer would do: I went home and wrote some more.

That first day, I hit the 10k mark relatively easily. Not super easily, but with relative ease. Had I been able to write during that write-in, I would have been golden. We’ll see how things go tonight at my next write-in. Phew! Sunday, Day 2, was a good day—I clocked almost 13k words, and I was glad that I’d been able to give myself a little of a cushion. I knew I was going to need some going back to work on Monday.

Then Monday struck. Oh, Monday, how I love to hate you… or, more accurately, how you love to hate on me. *Le sigh* I had my evaluation appointment for Physical Therapy at 9am (this one for my foot/ankle, not the neck that I’ve been going to PT for already), so I new I’d have a little time in the morning to write. I got some done and went to my appointment. The darned thing took two freaking hours. NOT what I had expected. By the time I got to work, close to 11:30, I knew I would have no time to take any breaks (lunch or otherwise) to write. That pretty much threw off my entire day. I was able to write last night, and managed to squeak by with just shy of 9k words, and thanks to my cushion, I still hit the 30k mark for Day 3.

As I look at Day 4 today (and yes, I have already written some words—check out the home page of my site to follow along!), the day is summing up to be much better.

But, as I reflect back on the last 3 days, I realize that I’ve learned quite a bit from this challenge, and I wanted to share what I’ve learned with you!

    1. It is really making me focus and not sweat the small stuff. So X needed to happen before Y but I’m already writing Y? Meh! At the end of this scene, I’ll write a mini-scene to be inserted later so that X does actually happen first.
    2. Because I’m really so focused on just getting the words out, I’m actually finding a really strong balance between prose and dialog. This is actually HUGE for me as my stuff is often dialog heavy.
    3. I tend to write slightly more annoying stuff… using the same words for things instead of changing them up more frequently like I normally would. Those are easy changes in edit mode, though, so I’m not too worried.
    4. I actually feel *less* stressed about this. How is that even possible? I guess because I don’t have to worry about all of the craziness at the end of the month, because I’m hitting the main goal early (once I hit the 50k on day 5, my next goal will be to actually finish the novel with the rest of the month).
    5. Momentum. You’d think I’d have it, right? I actually feel like I have *less* momentum here. It seems totally backwards to me, but there it is. You see, in the past, I would do a few word sprints in a row (I usually do 20 minute sprints), then take some hours off to go do something like watch a movie, read, knit, whatevs. Now, a part of my sub-conscious is kind of rebelling at not having much of that real down-time. Now, it’s Sprint, “omg, I can’t do another sprint yet. Ugh!”, Facebook, Twitter, Blog/Website update, NaNo site, ML duties on social media, back to my Facebook, and then “Oooookay… guess I should do another sprint now. Blah.” I may be writing more in the long run, but I don’t seem to necessarily be enjoying it as much.
    6. Fingers. They don’t hurt. I’m shocked. I really think I’d have aching fingers by now, but amazingly… NOPE!
    7. Shoulders/Back. Now, those DO hurt. Holy cow. My physical therapist is going to KILL me Wednesday when she feels how tight and awful my neck and shoulders are. She’s going to stick me with needles again, peeps. Dry needling is the DEBIL. It may help in the long run, but… IT’S THE DEBIL!

So, yeah… that’s pretty much what I’ve learned so far. We’ll see what, if anything, changes over the next two days.