We have reached the second half of November. And you know what that means besides turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie and my mom’s birthday? It means that NaNoWriMo is half over!

The good news for me is that I am actually on schedule this year. Scratch that. I’m ahead of schedule. When I went to bed last night, I was at 34,365 words, well over halfway to 50,000. Of course, the bad news is that NaNo has made blogging a little more difficult. But that’s actually a good thing because there’s no point in building a platform if you’ve got nothing to show for it (i.e. a book).

I know that some of my 34,365 words are duds, destined to be erased, but isn’t that the nature of a first draft? To spew everything out of your head onto paper? At least that’s what NaNoWriMo is about. And so far, it’s working. By getting everything down, I am able to clear my head. I already know some of the bits that will get cut in my next draft, but in the spirit of NaNo, I’m not cutting yet. I’m going to finish my first draft and then we can talk about the second draft.

So why is it that I can suddenly get my story down?

Part of it is discipline. The discipline of NaNo is something I’m benefiting from and something I’m hoping to be able to take with me into the coming months. I think the other part of it is keeping my focusing, working hard to get my story down in full before it starts slipping away, before I start losing momentum. With my other work-in-progress, I dragged it out, allowing doubt to seep in.

The other part of it was my planning. While I’ve deviated from the outline in some aspects, the general outline has not changed. I know where my story is going and how to get there. I think this is key.

How are you doing with the NaNoWriMo challenge? Are you on track? What’s working for you and what isn’t? And, if you haven’t donated to NaNo this year, what are you waiting for?