And just like that, we have survived the first week of NaNo! (Or am I the only one who has already exploded things in their novel? *cough*)
But, GUYS. The first week of NaNo has happened. Are you still alive? Am I still alive? WHO EVEN KNOWS??? I’m pretty sure NaNo’ers are just mad typing zombies for all the month of November. Like, who even needs sleep and a healthy schedule? Pssh. That’s what coffee is for.
How is my NaNo going so far?? AWESOMELY. To say I’m having fun is the understatement of the year. I’m bubbling with excitement and basically wanting to high-five and hug my novel every five minutes. This NaNo is going SO. WELL.
As I have done every NaNo thus far, I stayed up on October 31st, counting down for the clock to strike 12 so I could begin writing that very moment November 1st hit. To me, it’s one of the most exciting times of NaNo. You have all the buildup, all the excitement, and now, finally, when that clock hits midnight, you can begin your story. And then it comes, and so many, all around the world, are staying up at ridiculously late hours bringing to life an empty document, bringing those characters and stories that had only existed in our heads to something tangible, to something REAL.
Unfortunately, I was kiiiinda totally exhausted Monday night and those magical first words turned into my squinting at the screen trying to figure out how to construct a coherent sentence. But I did manage to push forward and write the first 2k words. (And I only stayed up until nearly 3 in the morning doing it. *cough, cough, cough*)
I was a little discouraged. Those first words were like pulling teeth, painfully forcing each one out. As I finally collapsed in bed, the fears came, the doubts. Was it going to be like this all month? Would I ever finish this novel? Was this going to be torture?
The next morning, I got out of bed, miraculously feeling not nearly as exhausted as I worried I would, and stomped down all those worries I had the night before. After all, I had been tired, and I always do have a hard time at the beginning stages of a novel getting back into the writing groove. I’ve actually been in editing mode all YEAR, since I spent this year editing Burning Thorns. I haven’t written a first draft of anything since last NaNo. Naturally, it was going to take me a little bit to settle back into the first drafting stage.
So, feeling more hopeful, I sat down that morning to start my first full NaNo day. And the words came. Without thought, they just flowed out of my fingers. During my first writing session, I had a few hundred words within a few minutes. All the doubts and fears blew away into pure, writing bliss. I suddenly realized how much I had missed pure writing.
That afternoon, as I was typing away, Mom came home from a trip to town with a pink gift bag. Now, remember in my last post where I joked about November being National Eat a Burrito Month or National Ride a Giraffe Month? I mentioned it in the first paragraph HERE. Well, I took the bag from her, confused, and when I pulled out the tissue paper, even more confusion ensued. Then I remembered my blog post and burst into laughter. Inside the bag was a burrito from Taco Bell and a little giraffe ornament.
What? You thought I was kidding?
Obviously, I was delighted. I mean, what better Happy Beginning of NaNo present is there besides a burrito and giraffe? Really now. And points to Mom for actually FINDING a giraffe. She’s the best. Period.
I immediately dubbed the giraffe my official NaNoWriMo mascot, and he is sitting next to my desk, and shall be brought out every single NaNo as my mini cheerleader. I call him Ivan. He’s such a precious NaNo mascot. I feel motivated to write every time I look at his adorable face.
He’s also fuzzy and sometimes I like to pet him for inspiration.
I love my little Ivan. <3
Between that and having a complete blast returning to my Colors of a Dragon Scale world and characters, I ended the first day with 9,032 words (2k of those being written the night before, of course), and collapsed into bed happy and looking forward to the next day.
The rest of the week continued much like the first, the words zooming by, me grinning at my screen over my characters’ antics, consuming as much caffeine as I could get away with, all the normal things.
By the 4th day I maaaay have hit the halfway point to 50k…
Writing 25k words in 4 days is normal right? Eheh. Heh. Heheheheh. *cough*
During one of those first days, I was trying to think of some music to help inspire me. Something new because I’ve kind of listened to the songs I own to death… But I have to write to good inspirational instrumental music that fits my story. Then it hit me, and I smacked my head wondering why I only just now thought of this.
There are these video games called the Elder Scrolls games that I sometimes obsess over, where you’re a person in this fantasy world—exploring, doing random missions for people, basically just LIVING. They’re really cool and make you feel like you’re actually in a fantasy world. (Though they can be super violent, creepy, and have language, so just throwing that out there.) Anyways. I kind of totally forgot my series was heavily inspired by those games. Just the whole feel of the world in those games inspired my CoaDS books. And it occurred to me: These games have amazing music. So I rushed over to YouTube some of the songs and was instantly reminded how much those games inspired this series and how the music was basically like a perfect soundtrack for my series and and and WHY HAD I NOT THOUGHT OF THIS BEFORE???
Needless to say, I went to buy one of the soundtracks. I bought it after hitting 25k, so it was kind of like a happy reward to myself. I’m thinking buying epic, inspiring music at the beginning of NaNo may need to be a new tradition. Few things make me want to write more than epic music.
I bought the Elders Scrolls V: Skyrim soundtrack and ooooh man. I want to write just to have an excuse to listen to the songs. They. Are. Perfect. They have this eerie and yet…calming fantasy feel. (Contradictory, I know, but it’s true.) The type of thing you’d hear while your characters are chatting around a campfire in the forest or exploring dark tunnels or having council in a majestic castle a.k.a EVERYTHING MY BOOK HAS. I mean, it can be rather mellow music, so I still have my go-to fast paced battle songs and whatnot, but still. I just wonder why I only now thought of this now that I’m at the finale of my series. I should have been listening to this stuff since the FIRST BOOK. *facepalm*
Seriously, listen to THIS. Or this one. Orrrr this. Okay, I’ll stop. But literally all of the songs are amazing! It even has one track that is 42 minutes long (not even kidding) that is just a variety of softer music with atmospheric sounds like birds and rain and crackling flames and such. Perfect traveling music for your characters. (I actually kind of want to just go to sleep to that track. It’s so peaceful.) If you’re writing fantasy, you need this soundtrack. Except word of warning, the physical CDs are $180 on Amazon. O_O Um, excuse me? Yeah, I don’t even know. But you can download the full track for $15.99 on iTunes which is what I did because WHO WOULD PAY $180 FOR A SOUNDTRACK??? Aaaanyways, just sharing helpful hints here. (I’m always looking for good writing music, FYI. #Obsessed So I thought others might be as well.)
With this new music, writing became even more enjoyable. Then, Saturday, I pulled out my official NaNoWriMo drink: A french vanilla cappuccino.
Back in the olden days when I didn’t like coffee (*GASP* it’s truuue!), I tried to find a substitute before my first adventure into NaNoland. I needed a hot, caffeinated drink of some kind, after all. I discovered this powdered cappuccino stuff that you put in hot milk or water and fell. in. love.
I drank it all during my first NaNo and all the NaNos thereafter. And since I only ever bought it during NaNo, it became the NaNo Drink. It smells like NaNo. If I want to get in the NaNo spirit, I just take a whiff of that warm, vanilla-y stuff and am slammed with a dozen happy NaNo memories. Funny how smells do that. So yep, for me, NaNo smells like a vanilla cappuccino.
Except, since I discovered coffee, I don’t think I had this stuff for the last NaNo or two. SHAMEFUL. I knew I could not write my CoaDS finale without it. That would be totally wrong. And, as I suspected, as I made that first cup Saturday afternoon and it overtook my senses, I was utterly overwhelmed by CoaDS memories. Add that to the new music I had bought the night before and ahhh, pure writing bliss.
I’ve also been super active on twitter, the only time of year I ever am. Usually, I’m practically nonexistent on twitter. Then NaNo rolls around and BOOM I’m a total twitter addict. (…Oops?) One of my favorite things about NaNo is the community, knowing you’re doing this crazy venture with thousands of others. And twitter is a great way to actually be a part of that community without taking up too much writing time. (And it’s also fun for flailing about crazy things that happen in your novel. *cough*notthatIwoulddothat*cough*) So if you’re nosy dragons and want to keep up with my process, just stalk my Twitter feed.
But seriously now. This novel has been going epically. Like, the-words-are-flowing-the-characters-are-behaving-the-plot-is-a-blast-is-this-really-real-life-or-am-I-dreaming type of epically. I’m preeetty sure I’ve made it clear that I LOVE NaNo with all my being and basically revolve my life around it. Buuuut it can be a little…tiring. I think we can all agree. After staring at the screen for 7 hours straight, typing and typing and typing, by the end of the day a horde of wild dragons can’t force one. more. word. out of you. (I mean, my novel is about dragons, but they’re all rather polite. But I digress.) But you know what? I’m having no trouble getting the words down. Usually I end my NaNo days bleary eyed and exhausting and wondering what I’m doing with my life. Then drag myself out of bed the next day and do it all over again. But this week? None of that. The words have just been coming. Quickly! And I’ve even had time to keep up with everyone’s blog posts (mostly) and emails (some of the time) and have even spoken to my family once or twice (though probably not totally coherently). Usually none of this happens during NaNo. But I kinda suspect this won’t last. I’ve had some unexpected free time this week. Soon Life and my novel will fight in an
epic battle of doom and despair for my attention. So I’m just soaking up this fantastic first week, grateful for the head start!
Speaking of which, I may already have 35k words.
Have I mentioned I want to get this novel written as fast as possible, and I’m pretty positive it’s going to be well over 100k? x_x I kiiinda think I’ll still be trying to finish it up on through December, buuut let’s not focus on that right now. I’m just gonna write as much as humanly possible in November and hope I can at least get the majority of it done.
But ANYWAYS. I had a good first week of NaNo. If it isn’t obvious.
One reason I think the words are coming so well is because this novel is basically second nature. I’ve spent 7 years in this world. Have written entire books about each of these characters. They’re HOME. It’s the most natural thing in the world to slip into this story, into these character’s heads. They’re such a deep, intimate part of me. Sometimes with writing, I have to take a moment to break away from the real world and transition into the story world, but with these books, they are my real world. During NaNo I actually have a hard time breaking away from the story back into the real world. My mind is utterly consumed in Story. And that’s one of the reasons I love NaNo so very much. You are literally living and breathing your novel, making it your world. It’s magical. (Even if you seem a little spacey to non-NaNo’ers. But we’re writers, we adapt to strange looks.)
And I meant to gush some about my characters (because my BABIES <333) and the actual story and maybe even share a snippet or two but I apparently got distracted by music and giraffes and twitter… But hey, it’s NaNo, these things happen. Maybe next week?
Also, if you expected to come over here and read a well constructed, coherent post, I apologize. Those don’t happen during NaNo. ALL THE CAFFEINE WORDS AND NO SLEEP. *frolics away*
The big question here is: HOW WAS YOUR FIRST WEEK OF NANO??? Or if you’re actually a sane person and not participating in NaNo (I admire you, teach me your sane ways), are you enjoying November so far? Do you have a favorite writing soundtrack? (Give meeee!) Also, what’s YOUR favorite warm, wintery drink? Let us discuss all the wonderful November things!