NaNoWriMo Day 1: 10K or Biscuits


Agent Carroll, reporting for writing duty.

Yesterday, I attended the Dublin pre-NaNoWriMo meet-up, which provided an opportunity to both meet new authors, and place a bet with a couple.

The stakes: reach 10,000 words on Day 1, or pay the forfeit of a packet of biscuits at the next meet-up. We didn’t qualify how good the biscuits had to be, just as we never qualify how good the 10,000 words have to be, but the three of us left in the room when we came up with the idea agreed to push ourselves on Day 1, to reach the 20% complete mark early on.

I haven’t done a 10K day in a long time. I think I’ve only managed that sort of word count two or three times in my lifetime, and not in a long time. I was nervous about the idea of trying to manage it, for the sheer difficulty of writing that many words without a finished plan to keep the story going.

Well, surprise! (Or not.)


After the first day, I managed to surpass the 10K point. Out of the 48 chapters I currently have planned, this ate into the first 7. The Marked Ones officially has its introductory cast of characters, from the detective to the artist, the model and the journalist, and a couple of damaged folk to add to the mix. It’s all terribly exciting to have this much written.

The challenge, of course, is trying to keep up this sort of pace for the rest of the month. Not necessarily 10K every day – because I do work full-time – but trying to write as much per hour as I managed today.

My biggest tips for completion of this sort of challenge:

1. If you’re going to listen to music, make it something you’re not going to need to change every few minutes.

2. If you’re going to attempt a large word count in a single day, make sure everyone else you live with is aware of this fact. (My dad and brother both even enquired about my progress, which was nice of them!)

3. Avoid social media with a passion. It’s too easy to replace novel-writing with tweeting.

4. Set yourself a target with other people. The group-orientation of this challenge meant a big boost in morale, and made it much easier to accomplish. It definitely helps to meet up with the other writers in your region when undertaking NaNoWriMo.

5. Keep a healthy supply of tea, coffee and/or water with you, and allow yourself bathroom breaks. Not just so you don’t wet yourself, either – you’re also giving yourself a chance to clear your mind for another writing sprint.

Now, if you don’t mind, I need to take a walk around the house. Using a bed as both a desk and a chair has its upsides and downsides – comfortable in the short term, painful in the long term. And I suppose getting more tea wouldn’t hurt, either. Peace out!


About Paul Carroll

Paul Carroll is a writer, born, raised and still living in Dublin. By day he's a student and bookseller, by night he writes fiction and uses social media.
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