NaNoWriMo Log #1: The Anxiety of Starting

This is a weekly log as I attempt to take on NaNoWriMo during November 2020. NaNoWriMo is a yearly writing challenge that dares writers to write 50,000 words (a novel) in a month. In these logs, I’ll discuss the ups and downs of my writing process.

Featured image by RF._.studio from Pexels

The Anxiety of Starting

Waking up on November 1st, I was an anxious wreck. I had been working on my idea for NaNoWriMo 2020 for a few weeks. The sheer thought of bringing my idea to fruition made me sick to my stomach.

I recently watched a YouTube video by struthless, “Advice for Perfectionists & Procrastinators: The 70% Rule”, that explained my fear perfectly.

I resonated with his struggle to push past the fear of tainting a “perfect” idea through an imperfect execution. (He starts chatting about it at 1:52.)

For almost an hour that morning, I ruminated over the “perfect”, untouched idea that sat in my head. I watched YouTube videos, I ate breakfast, but I didn’t write.

It took a lot of positive self-talk and replaying Jay Rock’s “WIN” to make me write my first sentence.

But, once I started I was off to the races.

I ended on November 1st with over four thousand words!

Since the first day, I’ve been semi-maintaining a daily word count goal of two thousand words. The typical NaNoWriMo daily word count goal is 1,667.

I wanted a buffer. If I’m sick, busy, or just wanted to watch Superstore all day — I could just take a day off. With a buffer, the chance of me giving up is low. I’m in it for the long haul sis!

Act 1 Blues

In my NaNo novel, I’m just beginning Act 2. For all my Save the Cat Stans out there, I’m in the middle of the B-Story beat. The relationship between my MC (main character) and the B-Story character is the most important one in the novel. I’m so excited they’ve begun to interact. I’m also ready to start some drama.

I noticed I really raced through Act 1. I’ve been brainstorming some possible reasons why:

  • I didn’t start the story in the right place.
  • I didn’t put enough conflict in Act 1.
  • I’m a big romantic. The romance of the story begins in Act 2. You can do the math.

I don’t know if my Act 1 sets up my MC exactly right…but hey — who cares! This is my discovery/zero/vomit draft! I ain’t trying to be Hemingway from word one! That’s just not realistic.

But, I’m having lots of fun getting the story onto the page. That’s what’s most important — -F-U-N.

Next week, our good sis MC is finally going to meet her love interest! *squeal* I’m excited to see how their relationship is going to change my MC’s character arc! *double squeal*.

TL, DR: Week 1 began rocky but went really well overall. I’m excited to get into the meat and potatoes of the story and get this story on the road.

Week 1 (11/1–11/7) Word Count

What I Needed: 11,669 words
What I Have: 17,713 words

Are you doing NaNoWriMo? How did your first week go? Let me know how you’re doing in the comments section below!

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Originally published in my Medium publication: “oh, write”

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