Twenty-one days into November, I completed NaNoWriMo. I’m a NaNoWriMo winner. For those not familiar with NaNoWriMo, it means National Novel Writing Month. Each November thousands sign up to write fifty thousand words in a month. Reach 50K and you’re a winner. We looked up the stats—fifteen percent reach that goal. Crazy goal? Probably. So I signed up.
Fifty thousand words in three weeks. I didn’t think it was possible. When I decided to sign up for this adventure I wasn’t sure I was up for the task.
People have congratulated me and asked me what I won. Besides the awesome certificate, I won a sense of accomplishment, proof to myself that I can write more words per day, a rough draft of a manuscript (book nine), and, as a bonus, I got to annoy my husband with my updated word counts for three weeks.
As for my story, is it any good? No. It is absolutely horrendous.
Actually, I have no idea if it’s bad or not, because I have not looked at it. I just forged ahead getting the words down. So, after participating in the writing mayhem what are my thoughts?
I have never tackled a writing project in the way I did for this endeavor. Usually, on the continuum I tend to lean more toward a Pantser than a Plotter. My go-to technique is to come up with a brief timeline of events and then allow the story to develop organically. However, for this project I tried plotting out the novel since I was trying to be as prepared as possible. Plotting worked somewhat, especially in the beginning when the characters were still finding their way but halfway through the novel the characters went on strike refusing to participate in the plotted events.
Plotting did help me not develop writer’s block where I would usually pause to ask the question, “And then what?” With my outline I could see where to go next immediately. That is, until the characters deviated from my well thought out plan.
Also, I enjoy the slower process of writing. I usually write one thousand words per day. For this project I was putting out two to three thousand words per day. I did prove to myself that I can write more words per day, although I am not sure they were quality words. I like to saturate myself in my character, the scenery, the story. This felt rushed and forced. I didn’t enjoy the process as much and I don’t feel as if the story benefited. My thought is that the story needs a major overhaul as compared to previous stories where I saw areas for improvement or revision but not an extensive re-do.
I did enjoy the feeling of community, the pep talks, and the thrill of the competition. And I did get to meet another writer that lives close. We met one time for a write in. I had been looking for other writers on the island, so this was a good way to connect us.
I don’t think I would participate again. Although I am glad I did it and gave it a try. I have a feeling of accomplishment for completing what I set out to do. However, it is not my way of writing and did not bring me as much joy as I have experienced in the past.
So, there it is, fifty thousand words in less than thirty days. It can be done. I did it. Check it off my list. Next.
Well, what’s next? I’m taking a few weeks off. I had a nice Thanksgiving without the pressure of completing my word count. I plan to catch up on some pleasure reading. I have a virtual stack of books waiting for me. I have fantasies of a comfy chair, hot chocolate, a warm throw, and a good book. I’ll see you in January when I pull out A Bridge Too Far and look at it objectively. Then I’ll start the long process of rewriting and reworking. Until then, Happy Writing.