I just hit halfway. 25,094 words. 50.19%. I find out tomorrow whether something-at-the-day-job is going to happen which will mean I need to bow out. But still – an average of 2,091 a day so far, and if I average 1,384 from here on in, I can still make it. Having run some studies, I can write at least 400 words in 10 minutes, which means at least 10.4 hours of writing remaining.

Did I mention I like spreadsheets?

My NaNoWriMo spreadsheet has columns for:

  • Target
  • Total
  • Daily
  • Av. to date
  • Av. daily
  • Remaining
  • Av. remaining
  • 2nd target
  • Remaining
  • %

plus a chart of various values and some other calculations (writing minutes remaining, average needed to obtain higher word counts) off to the side.

It isn’t procrastination – I set it up once and can use it over again, it takes moments to update and I love seeing the numbers tick over and grow and fall, the lines on the chart move and waver and cross. My biggest motivation is adding in the new total and seeing how many I have written for the day, how the averages shift.

It’s great for this sort of writing because it makes it a game against myself, a challenge, a strategy of little by little and bit by bit (and yes, I have a spreadsheet with various compound interest calculations that I carry around on my thumbdrive). It keeps my eye on the goal: words on paper. And sometimes, when I get to the end, I look back and find pieces that are even salvagable, links and patterns and plots wavering out of the fever dream.

And sometimes I look back and realise I’ve just written an unrelated interlude which is best characterised as “Orpheus & Eurydice” + selkies + “Gawain and the Loathly Lady” + Thomas the Rhymer, with advice (but not philosophy!) from a very lost Robin and Little John, roses, mortality and a musing on social responsibility.