Coming into this year’s NaNoWriMo, I will admit that I had very high expectations. My last attempt was somewhat meager so I implemented what I thought was a good plan. Funny how regardless of how well-formed your plan is, life can just come along and blow it apart like a straw house.
It was somewhat comical how I planned and prepared so far in advance only to sabotage myself right out of the gate. I completed most of the Write for 31 Days challenge (blogging), had my outline prepared, gathered a posse of support, and had my resources readily available. Five days later after NaNo started, I decided that I was extremely unhappy with my life and that became the priority instead.
I am my own worst critic, and I would be lying if I said that I couldn’t have found some time in between things to write. I very well could have but honestly, I just was never in the mood.
In retrospect, I did write over twice the amount of words as what I accomplished last year. That is a noteworthy achievement I will recognize. Normally I am not a highly competitive person, but the corners of my mouth do tweak a little as I compare my stats to the rest of those I know and participated with.
To close out, here is a list of things that I learned or realized over the course of this year’s National Novel Writing Month that I wish to keep for the record as well as share with everyone who may be considering participating next year:
- NaNoWriMo is very much about vomiting words onto the page. Editing comes later.
- Don’t plan out your novel for months (or even years) prior to starting like I did. You will likely hit a wall that you cannot see through or around and end up pulling your hair out. Allow for some planning but keep the flexibility of letting the characters respond to the situation by asking “what if…?”
- You will never have enough time to write the 1,667 words per day if you don’t make the time.
- Its not what you do during NaNoWriMo that makes you a writer but what you do during the other 11 months of the year. If you only write during November at 1,667 words per day, you will only write 50,000 words per year. If you write 500 words per day for the rest of the year, you will write over 165,000! Take your pick.
- Writing is no fun if you keep it to yourself. Get out, participate in write-ins, find support groups, meet like-minded individuals, talk to your friends and family about what you are writing about. By doing that you will end up finding more inspiration for new content than what you could have on your own.
- It doesn’t take a NaNoWriMo to do your own writing sprint. You can make your own and hold yourself to it any time you like. Don’t let your creativity cycle be dependent on someone else’s plans.
- Write lots, read more.
- Keep a notebook about anything and everything and always keep it with you.
- Even if you don’t win NaNoWriMo, the words you wrote bring you that much closer to finishing.