Where are all the NaNoWriMo Night Owls?

Remember earlier this month when I challenged you to a word sprint? Well, after lots of procrastinating, I finally tried a few. I have to say, I’ll need to do some mental stretching to improve, but they did help get me out of my inevitable Week 2 writing rut. Why don’t you try a word sprint with me? Stop what you’re reading and write words of any kind for 10 minutes. Then count the results and take a look at how I did below!

Did you do it? Did you?

I promise, accountability really helps! 🙂

My struggle this week has been nailing down THE writing time – a consistent time of day to hole myself up in my writing cave and not watch YouTube videos…

As a night owl, I’m most active and ready to write in the evenings and into the night – even as late as 3am. But with a newish full-time 9-to-5 this year, I get home with only enough energy to kick back and relax. That leaves writing time to early mornings, which is not good for a procrastinating night owl!

Yesterday was quite possibly my first successful day of waking up early to write. A big win for me! Next up is to also try out writing on lunch breaks and in little bursts to see if I become one of those authors who pens their novel on napkins on the bus.

NaNoWriMo Check-in:

My 10-minute word sprint results: 210 words

Strangest thing I researched today: cats’ perception of time

Current word count: 3,003 words

A NaNoWriMo 2021 Journey with a Twist

Welcome to National Novel Writing Month 2021! My “Procrastiwrimo” self always wonders how this comes around so fast and how I’m always so unprepared…

I’ve always been a big advocate for doing NaNo your way. Use the rules, but only as they work for you! (Not a saying I would recommend extending to life in general…) This year, I’m finishing the last 2 chapters of my middle grade fantasy draft, then starting heavy revision work on the remaining 45,000 or so words of my goal.

The hardest part of NaNo for me is holding myself to it after missing a day. It’s amazing how quickly not doing something becomes a habit! In addition to my attempt to daily post through my NaNo journey here, I’m also posting 30 Days of Writing over on my IG (@laurenhallstromauthor), where I’ll feature a different writing location every day just to keep things interesting.

Current wordcount: 489 words

Strangest thing I researched today: philosophy of the meaning of life and subjective naturalism

Do you write? Let me know if you’re doing NaNoWriMo this year! Whether you are or not, I challenge you to a word sprint: time yourself and see how many words you can write in 10 minutes. I’ll do the same and post my results tomorrow.

Happy writing!

The Déjà Vu Writer: July Camp NaNoWriMo Days 1-2

Welcome to 2021’s Juliwrimo, or the July installment of Camp National Novel Writing Month! After a long pandemic hiatus, in which the most productive thing I did was write 30 alternatingly hilarious and tragic COVID-inspired poems, I’m back to blogging daily for the month of July! Let’s chat, procrastinate, and maybe even get some words down together!

My Day 1 experience has me wondering: ever have déjà vu? Not just in any old sense of the word, but the writerly kind? Say you’ve settled down for a nice afternoon at the keyboard, and after an hour you sit back and realize you could have sworn this story has already been written before. The worst thing is discovering your amazing idea has already been written and published 5 years ago. And that you read it as a teenager!

Actually, this doesn’t often happen to me, but even if it does for you, don’t let that stop you from making your amazing-spectacular idea a reality. There will always be similarities to already existing books, but your combination of concepts, characters, and writer’s voice makes your idea perfectly your own.

No, my writerly déjà vu has to do with me unintentionally copying myself! I experienced this on my very first day of NaNo this month – what a great start. Long-time Procrastiwrimo readers will know that I don’t follow NaNo rules. I don’t always write 50,000 words (I’m going for 35k this time around), I often swing between procrastination and binge-writing, and I’ve been working on the same NaNo novel project for years.

Don’t get me wrong, I can totally tap out a 50,000 word standalone draft in a month and have that victorious sense of finality on the 31st (and you can too! It’s all about the golden rule: WRITE EVERY DAY). But this one is my trouble child – I’ve gotten stuck and done rewrites at least 5 times over the years.

So now here I am, starting Camp NaNo 2021 in the climax of my beloved middle grade fantasy manuscript. Woohoo! Day 1 went great – there is something exciting about starting where the action is. But then I got an overwhelming sense that I had already written this scene before.

The feeling wasn’t unusual. My process is to outline as I go, so my document is full of margin comments where I freewrite and ramble about where the plot could head. My writing sessions consist of me staring off into space playing the scene through in my head like a movie, then 10 minutes of vigorously tapping out what occurred, and repeat. So it wasn’t unusual to feel like I was telling a story that had already happened.

But when the feeling wouldn’t go away, I finally clicked through my files…and discovered a second file containing my manuscript. I had one online version and one offline document I used when the Wifi was bad. I hadn’t merged the two, so my instincts were right – I had written the exact same scene before. And the first version was better.

(Cue a slow motion, “Nooo…”)

The thing you have to remember about NaNo is it’s all about getting your words on the page and not judging your writing. Leave that for the editing stage. So for me, this wasn’t a total loss. I had written words. And it was an interesting exercise, because despite the déjà vu, the two scenes turned out very different. When I go back and edit, I’ll take pieces from both versions. But for now, I’ll count the fact that I at least started writing as a win.


Daily quote from my manuscript notes: “Should this be a thing? Does she like Sharpies?”

P.S. I’m a Night Owl writer! I write in the evenings, so you’ll see posts about each day of NaNo coming out on the day after. Happy NaNoing!