I NaNo Mediocrely but...
For me, most Octobers are spent feverishly prepping character bios and outlines for NaNoWriMo. The goal is that I can start writing once the clock strikes midnight on November 1st. I follow the typical NaNo patterns: I go hard for the first week and a half/two weeks, then stall out on week three, only to write like my life depends on it down to the very last second. For five of the last eight years, I've reached or exceeded my goals. I'm pretty smug about that. I may have written easily 750,000 words in those Novembers alone.
This year, I might make thirty-thousand words.
Normally, I'd be bummed about that, but this year has been surprisingly productive. First, let me tell you what I did wrong. I didn't spend October planning. Rather, I wrote a rough outline and I know what's going to happen. However, I realized I don't know some of the characters as well as I should at this point in the series, especially since some of those characters are coming to the forefront in this book. I waited until November first to work on character profiles. I found one I liked, filled it out (which took three days), then found two others I liked better. One of my characters has such a thorough profile that I know him as well as I know myself. I exaggerate. Now I'm twenty-one days into NaNo and I'm on the third profile of my third character. I have no doubt that the book will be stronger because of this, but these aren't what I consider countable words.
Don't get me wrong; I've been writing. The Daughters of Night book one, Chasing Starlight, is almost ready for a December release. I have some other news about it that I'm sitting on, and I hope I can tell you soon. My partner and I have a system that might not work for everyone. One of us will take the first stab at a chapter and after giving it our best effort, we send it to the other. That person rips it apart and doubles the word count. A new chapter, rinse and repeat. That means I'm writing lots of words this month. Some get deleted, some get edited, some get cherished until the final cut. But words are being written!
I'm also writing for my other, real-life project, so the words are adding up. NaNo is turning into a win-lose proposition. I'm winning because projects are moving along at the right speed and with the right amount of detail. But I don't think I'm going to reach my 50,000 words, at least not 50,000 of all my own words.
I changed my twitter name to "Matilda Does NaNo So Hard" because I do and will continue to NaNo just as hard until the last dying breath of this month.