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NaNoWriMo: Day One: What Am I Doing?

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Those of you also doing NaNoWriMo are infinitely aware that it is now November, and thus that writing can begin on NaNo novels.

So what am I doing today?

I am reading.

Why, you ask, in a race to 50K words, am I spending the first day of NaNo reading? Well, first of all, because I get terrible writer’s block if I don’t read several books a month. writers = readers. And second, because it’s Sunday, and Sunday is a day that I don’t write, no matter what my evil deadline is, because it is a day to recharge batteries. For me, it’s a good rule, and NaNo’s not going to change that.

Here’s the thing about NaNo, or any other deadline. It is not a helter skelter race to the end, an every second writing sort of affair. Think of it this way: an average scene in a novel is 2-3K words long. That means that what you’re really looking at with a 50K NaNo novel is not 1,666 words written every single day, you’re looking at writing 16-25 scenes that lead toward an end. Which means, some days, if you are calculated and thoughtful and in the mood, you can power out two or three great scenes — 4,000-10,000 words. Writing words just to write words will get you more words, but no closer to the end. Writing scenes and worrying about wordcount secondarily? That’ll get you somewhere.

So yeah. Day one, NaNo. Word count: 0. Perturbed? Not yet.

Maggie Stiefvater
Hi, I'm Maggie Stiefvater

Professional novelist by day and artist by night. I live an eccentric life in the middle of nowhere, Virginia with my charmingly straight-laced husband, two kids, and neurotic dogs. I’m the author of the Books of Faerie (LAMENT and BALLAD); the bestselling SHIVER trilogy (SHIVER, LINGER, FOREVER), and THE SCORPIO RACES.

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