Day 17,326 of NaNoWriMo: I Finally Made an Outline 

Day 17,326 of NaNoWriMo? No, sorry, that’s just my word count. It’s actually day 22. 

NaNo expected word count: 36,674 

My word count: 17,326 

Difference of 19,348 words

Behind by 11.6 days 

I have conceded that I will likely not finish my novel in the allotted time frame: November 30 at 50,000 words. 

HOWEVER, I will continue to write it until it is complete, (I’m optimistically aiming for December 31), and I will continue to blog about my journey to its completion. How WILL I complete this? No idea. I have noticed that the best way for me to write is to have no strict schedule. If I’m too hard on myself (see: forcing 1,667 words a day for NaNo, lol) I feel too overwhelmed and will not get any writing done at all. A smaller goal, and a range, say 700-1500 words a day, is much more manageable and ACHIEVABLE for me, personally. 

Update: after giving myself the freedom to write a range for my novel, I got out 1,000 words this morning. 

The big news: I finally made an outline for my novel, six chapters in. See how I’m eating my words from before? Yum yum. 

It’s a basic chapter-by-chapter outline, with only a few key words of the action and any new characters listed in all caps. I include any flashback scenes. And that’s it. Two billion dollars spent on my university education for an outline a fourth grader could do. That’s right. 

November, despite the anticipation of days spent at home writing away, has been an actual challenge. With a very sick child (no covid; she was tested), holidays, schools closed due to flooding, and the local emergency – and thus not only having an unexpected toddler at home but ALSO simultaneously worrying about the milk, eggs and bread I didn’t panic buy, it has been, suffice to say, impossible to write. And I wish I was making excuses, I do. Being a single mom, especially with a physical disability that makes getting around very difficult, I cannot stretch my time, while my child is around, to indulge myself too; I simply do not have the time. 

Once again, want to make clear that I love spending time with her and I know I’m blessed that I get to hang out with her so much. She’s only going to be 3.5 once and I’m soaking up as much of it as I can. But, as a normal human, I need some time alone to recharge so I can be the best parent I can be. 

Reflections on NaNo/ what I have learned: (TIP: this is how we teachers learn and what we teach to our students – or should be – now. Reflection can actually be the strongest pathway to remembering new information.) 

I can write a LOT in a couple hours.

I do not write like other people and I do not expect others to write like me. For example: I know I do my best and most productive writing first thing in the morning, mostly because I am exhausted by the early afternoon due to taking care of my toddler or, if not that, because I have been dragging around my bad leg all day and I’m in pain (it’s constant.) Other writers like to give advice like: “write always and often!” Sorry, that does not work for me. However, this is not to say I can’t or won’t write in the afternoon or evening; I have – but I’ve been a morning person since I was born and there’s no changing me now. The other example: some people wrote out detailed outlines before they began, and I did not. At all. As we know. 

I truly can’t write with distractions. 

I am confident I can finish this! 

After my novel is done, I will be editing it and then taking the next steps to publication (hopefully). I’m sure I’ll be blogging about that too and you’re all welcome to follow along on the journey of being on the receiving end of rejection letters. 

Published by Erica Black

Erica was born with a rare disease called an arteriovenous malformation in her right leg. She is now an advocate for those with disabilities. She left the corporate world in 2016 to pursue a career as a high school English teacher and began to blog along the way. She has a BA in English Lit and minor in Creative Writing. Her writing has been featured in The Martlet, The Globe and Mail, Heroica, and more. She enjoys cats, reading, and her daughter.

4 thoughts on “Day 17,326 of NaNoWriMo: I Finally Made an Outline 

  1. #morningpeoplerock

    You’ve had a lot pop up amd interfere with you’re writing schedule. Setting a new personal goal for completion is huge and awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

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