Five snapshots of the first week of NaNoWriMo 2023 (the format of this post is directly inspired by grignotages' daily vignettes) :
Wednesday, November 1, 2023 — 2 032 / 1 667 words
As usual, I get out of bed when it's still dark out. Dawn is rosy and resplendent. I start my writing session by digging out old journals from storage boxes in my closet. A box full of diaries breaks open, the weight of all my scribbles landing on my toes. Ouch! I manage to find a journal entry from the 19th of December, 2022, where I transcribed a story from a dream, a few paragraphs of a scene that has been haunting me since. My plan is to stretch what essentially amounts to a vague vibe about a scene into 50 000 words.
The first 1 000 words come extremely easily. Getting those last 667 words is more like pulling teeth than putting ink to paper. I have to force myself not to go back to the beginning and fiddle with sentences already written. I take a tea break. I watch the livestream of a ballet class with the Opéra national de Paris. It's at the end of the livestream, during the fouettés, that I look at my watch and realise that in an hour and a half, I managed to add a second thousand words. Good omen for the first week!
Thursday, November 2, 2023 — 3 356 / 3 333 words
I did two hours of ballet the night before and it really seems like my entire body is furious with me. The cat interrupts my morning stretches and I decide to humour and play with him. He rewards me by scratching me, slicing open a fingertip. Then he has the audacity to be offended by the blood that gets on his pretty fur coat! My swears wake up my partner, who probably thought I'd rebroken my impeccable radius. He kindly comes to my rescue by finding a very old Band-Aid from one of our hiking kits. Great start to day two.
Friday, November 3, 2023 — 4 203 / 5 000 words
I'm working from a café for the first time in recent memory today. I've completely lost the habit of focusing in a public place. They make me an almond spinach grilled cheese and a matcha latte and it's delicious. The writing is a little less delicious. I'm starting to need to create characters apart from my protagonist, and character creation is taking time away from what little time I have for writing in between appointments this morning. I'm seeing my physiotherapist and I've also got a stretch class later to try and manage some issues with my shoulder. Chronic pain management continues to eat up an amazing amount of my time.
Later, much later, after sunset, I'm able to get back to my keyboard. I start one of my favourite recordings of Giselle to play in the background to accompany me as I try and catch up on the wordcount.
I stop writing at 9 PM. I don't want to mess up my sleep schedule this November, because frankly I can't really afford to. I'm hoping that returning to my usual morning routine tomorrow morning will allow me to catch up.
Saturday, November 4, 2023 — 6 029 / 6 667 words
How to write 6 000 words in 4 days? I'm such a slow writer usually that I'm a bit stunned I've managed this much.
When it comes to crafting fiction, there's a judgemental part of my brain that I have to shut down completely. Unfortunately, that's also the meanest, strongest, and loudest part of my brain. You can't win any argument with it, either. The only solution is to shut it out completely, stuff it into a drawer and slam it shut, and attack the page with whatever is left of my mind. With a lot of luck, something interesting will happen. I think that's how I write 6 000 in 4 days. No thinking allowed. Only writing.
In case of emergency, I also recommend green tea and haskap berry macarons!
Sunday, November 5, 2023 — 6 029 / 8 333 words
The time change and a very bad night of unsleeping join forces with a gnarly endometriosis/inflammation flare up. I'm not having a great time in my ballet class. At home after, I think I spent a solid 20 minutes staring forlorn at all my incomplete chores from the past week. There definitely are not enough hours in the day for the time change to come steal one from me.
Writing-wise, I'm definitely not having a lot of motivation. This always happens when my pain hits a certain level. I prepare a little bit of green tea, I light a candle, I watch the sunset, I listen to some classical guitar... anything to try and trick my brain to get into that writing mood.
When I reread the entries from the past five days, I realize that despite this weekend slowdown, I've actually had a great start to NaNoWriMo 2023. Even if I don't manage to add significantly to my word total tonight, I refuse to give up on this challenge!
So, I'll check in again next week, happy writing to all those writing right now, and take good care of yourselves. Don't give up!
PS: If you're a member of nanowrimo.org, add me! My user is thelastleavesoflorien.