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NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month and is held every November. It’s a challenge to write 50,000 words of a novel in thirty days. Writers and wanna-be writers come together with a common goal to write novels, short stories, memoirs, whatever it is they’ve been putting off or need a push to get started. This year I decided I would document my daily writing practice as I strive to finish a draft of a novel I’ve been taking far too long on.

Day 0

Words Written: 0

Total Word Count: 0

Goal: 50,000


NaNoWriMo is almost here. Besides writing the 1,667 words every day I plan on writing or journaling every day here to capture my thoughts on the process.  

My goals for November are to obviously hit 50,000 words written on my novel.  While I’ve written a really solid amount of words for this project I still have a long way to go before it’s finished.  Currently, I have about 80,000 words in several Word Docs but my real “first draft” wasn’t anything like what the story is turning out to be.  

There’s a really large section in the middle, probably at least 20,000 of that 80,000 that will just be deleted immediately.  So for NaNo I will mostly be trying to write that middle section, probably the hardest section for most writers. I need to make it into something better than what it is now.

The novel, which right now I’m calling “Call Me The Forest,” but will probably be called ten other things by the time anyone reads it, is a speculative fiction novel set in contemporary times.  There are a lot of arguments over what is speculative fiction but Margaret Atwood defines it as: “things that really could happen but hadn’t completely happened when the authors wrote the book” and so that’s the definition I stick with.  But maybe it’s just science fiction.

I prefer reading and writing books that have fantastical elements, that take us out of our day-to-day world but still play by our rules.  Maybe I’m not creative enough or maybe I just like truly believing that what I’m creating could in fact happen in our world, but I like keeping one foot in reality while exploring unbelievable ideas.  

I tend to write on my couch.  Which, on the one hand, is really comfy, especially in the cold November here in Japan.  But, I am also not as productive so I try not to do that unless there’s a really good reason for me to.  

If I’m not on the couch I’m at my kitchen table.  I get a lot of work done at this table and I tend to spend most of my working time here. But, if on the off-chance I am home by myself, I do get distracted by household tasks that I feel like I’m “neglecting” while I’m writing.  I have a really hard time ignoring the pile of laundry in front of me. And if the kids are home, I’m basically getting up every two minutes to get apple juice, find a different show on TV, fix a toy whose wheel fell off or break up an argument over the now-fixed toy.

Outside my house, I like to write at the library.  I can walk to the library so I have no excuse (except when the kids are home with me) not to go and get in a few hours of very quiet and uninterrupted work.  I’m almost always the only one in the quiet area I settle in, and I get so much done here.

My other favorite place is called Jonathan’s.  It’s basically a Japanese Denny’s (though they do have Denny’s just not as close as this Jonathan’s). It’s on my way to the kids’ school so I can stop on the way on and don’t have to waste any time going out of my way.  It’s never crowded when I go in the morning.  

For ¥699 ($6.15 USD) I can get eggs, bacon, a salad (is that a Japanese thing?), and a side of either toast, rice, pancakes, or a roll.  The best part though is the all-you-can-drink bar.  So for two hours (the longest they’ll let you), you can have all the soda, coffee, tea, and soup that you want.  

No matter where I end up writing, at the library or in the car watching 3 and 4-year-olds practice flag football, it’ll be a tough month.  With multiple days off of school for Japanese holidays, birthdays, tons of kids’ activities, and Thanksgiving, I’ll be lucky to finish.  

So here’s looking forward to getting started tomorrow. If you’re writing too, connect with me here or on NaNoWriMo.

-Mackenzie