The First NaNo 2017 Progress Report (Hint: It’s Going Well)

Today is the seventh day of November and the seventh day of NaNo 2017. (Did you miss my opening NaNo post?) At this point, our valiant word adventurers should have reached 10,002 words and be working toward 11,669 words by the end of the day.

Yes, 50,000 words divided by 30 days makes for some odd math, which is one of the reasons I round up to 1667 since it is really 1666.66666666666… Because of this, using my tracker, I will end up with 10 extra words. I’d recommend you write a little more than 10 extra, though, as when validating, the site word counter does not always match whatever program you are using.

There are many ways to track these numbers, and I’ve certainly tried a few, but I’ve been simplifying my life lately. Rather than a fancy spreadsheet with graphs and mood tracking, I’m using a small portion of my normal stats spreadsheet to track how much I’ve written and how far behind, or ahead, I am. At the end of the post is a portion of that table, and the part you can’t see tells me I am currently ahead by just over 1,300 words. However, I haven’t written yet today, and if I don’t write at least 306 words, I will be behind. If you check the table below, you’ll see I’ve already failed to reach the 1667 once and am sure to do it again, which is why having a cushion is a good thing.

Why does all this tracking matter? Well, it’s easier to focus on a smaller task than it is on the bigger one. 50,000 is a lot of words. 1,667 (or about 7 pages) per day is easier to grasp. The tracking also helps if you’re trying to build up a backlog of words so you can, for example, take a day of rest or celebrate Thanksgiving in the US with your family. This is true of most monumental tasks: if you break them down into smaller parts, you can both see progress faster and are more likely to achieve the final goal.

However, numbers aside, the best part about it is I am writing consistently again. Whether I can keep up the pace (I’ve already written more than most months this year) is still to be seen, but I have a personal goal of writing every day regardless of amount. I’m not an every day writer in general, but I’m hoping this secondary goal will help me get back into a more natural writing rhythm.

And what about the story? Well, it’s unfolding nicely. I started out with about 40,000 written on the book (not counting toward NaNo of course) so I am beginning to question whether this will fall into the 60k-65k range for the second Steamship Chronicles volume (which starts with Life and Law), but Traps and Treachery is the stunning conclusion of the volume, so it has a lot of things going on. If it ends up longer, and keeps my readers happy, so be it.

I am, however, hoping it will wrap up before 70,000 words if only so I can start working on what I intend to use to finish the 50,000 words, a sociological science fiction series that’s been on the shelf for so long I need to rewrite it from the beginning. This won’t be available any time soon, as it spans at least 5 novels, but I’ll enjoy writing it and will have a side writing project for a while to make sure I stay in the writing groove.

This is the wonderful thing about November with all the creative energy being thrown around. Now to harness it into words.

How are your November projects going? Do you have any tricks to share on keeping your forward motion?

Day Total New Words
1 2876 2876
2 4192 1316
3 6279 2087
4 7181 902
5 8916 1735
6 11363 2447

Life and Law Sharable

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2 Responses to The First NaNo 2017 Progress Report (Hint: It’s Going Well)

  1. Elizabeth says:

    I’m confused. If you are trying to do 50,000 words by writing 10,000 words a day, it should take you 5 days. Right?

    • Margaret McGaffey Fisk says:

      If I could write 10k a day, I could write many novels in November :). I’m trying to maintain 1667 or a little higher each day to build up a cushion. Not sure where you got the 10k a day?

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