I hit a rough patch on day 14 of NaNoWriMo this year. I stopped writing. This year, I used an outline hoping to avoid going off in tangents. I gave myself enough room to explore, but I mapped out the major plot points. When I reached my outline’s midpoint at only 10,000 words, I knew I misjudged the story.
I tried not to be hard on myself. This was the first time I used an outline on a first draft. But I had to write 1,600 words a day in order to get to 50,000 in 30 days, so I resorted to writing filler. I felt discouraged, deflated, and detached from the story. I knew as I was writing a scene that it wasn’t working, that it wouldn’t make it out of this draft, yet I wrote, because I had to make it to 1,600 words each day. It sucked the fun out of the book.
I’ve decided that I’m going to finish the book according to my outline. I’ll still explore, but I won’t write for the sake of the word count. What matters is that I come out of this with a first (rough) draft. The word count matters in later drafts, not this one. So, I’m picking up where I left off and I’m going to finish. It may wind up being 35,000 instead of 50, but at least it won’t be 50% garbage. I can add subplots and evaluate where I’ve underwritten after some cooling off time.
So that’s where I am! I’m not going to win by word count this year, but I’ll have a base for this story. That’s still winning NaNoWriMo in my opinion.