NaNoWriMo: limping into the final stretch

Last night I passed the 40,000 word milestone, and I’ve just over a week of my novel-writing month to go. The last few days have been hard. During the last week there were two days where I scraped in at my minimum daily count of 1667 words, and on one day I only managed 700.The novelty of the task has certainly worn off and, though there are still aspects that I’m really enjoying, I’m really looking forward to stopping.

The actual process of writing is still going quite smoothly, though – the issue now is one of plotting. Too many times I’ve sat at my computer and started to daydream about plot events, which I should have defined before attempting to write. In the early days, I’d been happy to mull over plot events in idle moments, but now it takes a conscious effort to drag myself back to planning mode. On days when I’ve defined a lump of story beforehand, filling in the details is still really enjoyable. Next time (next time!) I attempt a novel, I’m determined to plan more thoroughly beforehand, and I’ll allow myself non-writing days throughout the process, in order to keep plotting ahead.

A few days ago I convinced myself that the story was close to wrapping up. But that was largely a cowardly decision to defer the plot point that was originally to be the central strand of the novel – in fact, I’d begun to believe that the whole segment might be a good basis for a followup novel. This morning I came to the decision that i) I was just trying to avoid writing a section that cries out for more research, and ii) I can’t bear the idea of stringing this story out for more than one book. So I’m going to spend the last 10,000 words ploughing ahead, trying to wrap everything up decisively, however hurried it may be.

I had an idea for a different story last week and yesterday I began searching for reading material on the subject. Is there a chance that I’ll continue writing? If so, no matter how the current novel turns out, this project has been a total success.

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