NaNoWriMo Day #11 & 12

It's happened. 

Life has, officially, gotten in the way of my writing. 

I'm surprised it took so long, really. But, all in all, I'm still on track for my goals, and I'm above the NaNo goal word count (WC) of 20,004. In fact, I've exceeded it by 10K right now (my current WC is 31,259). 

Still, I've set a higher goal for myself, and that would be writing 80K this month. 

Last year when I competed in NaNoWriMo 2011, it was my first year, and I "won" by completing an entire novel in 30 days, which ended up being around 75K. 

So, because I'm a goal-oriented person, and I like obliterating my personal bests, I decided to best last year's WC by 5,000 words. 

Thus, my unofficial goal this year is 80K. Which means I should be at 32,000 words today.

And I'm not. I'm 750 short. 

That's not bad, considering. It's an amount I could easily make up tomorrow, or the day after. But...if I were to fail on my goal because of a measly 750 words, I'd be awfully upset. 

Not to mention that I know this month is only going to get busier. With family having arrived in town yesterday and not leaving until Sunday, then more family and friends arriving on Tuesday next week, and then Thanksgiving... The next couple of weeks will be even more hectic than these past 12 days have been.

However, one good thing that has come from my not being at a computer is that I have been thinking an awful lot about where I want to go with this novel's plot, and what events I want to set up with this character.

What I've come away with are a couple of plot twists that I think will be good for the state of my NaNo novel.

I'm really not an outliner, but I always write better when I have a vague idea of what may happen in fifty pages. I definitely don't need to know what happens on the next page, or what my next sentence needs to say until I write it, but I do write better when I have a very general idea of where my novel is going. Is she going to meet a boy? Will she find a dead body? 

Really, all I need to know is a final destination, what I'm writing to, and then I can connect the dots. And I come up with these dots by thinking on my non-writing days like yesterday and today.

I've realized those non-writing (or non-editing) days are vital to my writing (or editing) goals. But this a fact which I often lose sight of. I get tunnel vision when I get deeply into writing or editing a novel and work on the novel every single day--to the exclusion of all else. What I find happening is a lack of focus, getting too close to the plot and the characters and the twists I try to throw in, to even consider that they may not be working. 

Yet I struggle with my non-writing days because I feel guilty for not writing. I love to write, and I'm serious about it, so when there are days that I can't write or I don't get the time to write, I feel quite guilty. So I'm slowly starting to realize that non-writing days have value of their own. Those non-writing days can expedite what I accomplish on my writing days, because I get the opportunity to think about what I'll write the next day. 

So I'm going to try not to feel guilty on the days I cannot write--not to excuse myself--but to place greater value on my thoughts.