As some of you might know, I participated in NaNoWriMo this year in November. For those who don’t know, NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month where the aim is to complete 50,000 words in thirty days. I had participated last year and only got about 5000 words and gave up. This year though, I was determined to get more. I finished with 34,119 words on the 30th of November 2017. Although I didn’t technically win NaNoWriMo, I considered my words to be a win.
Here’s 5 reasons why NaNoWriMo 2017 was a win for me
I learnt to write almost every day
In November, except for one day, I wrote every single day. Sure, there were some days I only got one hundred words but there were some others when I wrote 2000 words. But the important thing was I just kept writing.
I learnt how to make time to write
Here’s the thing: as writers, a lot of us still have a life. We have other things to do. In my case, it’s a full time job that’s quite emotionally draining and mentally exhausting but I also work a couple of Saturdays a month. In addition to that, in November, I had social commitments which included dinners with friends, hiking, book club, movie nights with friends as well as exercising most mornings. So I had to learn to make time to write. I found myself writing in my lunch break in the car or alternatively, at a cafe or restaurant while waiting for a friend. I wrote on the train to and from Sydney. I wrote in a cafe while my car was having its brake pads changed. Bottom line was, I wrote whenever I could. My blog did take a backseat while I focussed on writing but I had to make choices.
I wrote through ‘writer’s block’
I have talked about writer’s block before and how it’s merely a form of self-doubt. The beauty of NaNoWriMo is to keep writing and even though there were several times in the process self-doubt reared its ugly head, I just kept writing as the goal was to get words down. I learnt that by telling myself it’s important to just write for now and edit later, I was able to persevere through the most abhorrent writing. After all, once the story is done, I can edit, chop and change. But without the story, there’s nothing there.
I learnt I’m a planner
When I tried NaNoWriMo last year, all I had was an idea and I tried to write. When I got stuck, that was it. There was nowhere to go. This year, I spent October plotting and planning. By that, it didn’t mean I wrote down every single thing. Rather, I planned what I wanted from my story, what the main arcs and conflicts were and I also outlined chapters with two to three points in each that I’d hoped to cover.
I wrote 34,000 words
At the start of November, I had zero words. By the end, I had about 34,000 more words. That’s a lot of words especially as the most I’ve ever written is 5,000. I totally consider that a win. Allison Tait has said several times before that any number of words you get down during NaNoWriMo is a win. Because after all, you had nothing before. And I can’t thank her enough for her wise words as they kept me going the entire month.
Ten days into December, I’ve written about 3000 more words and I’m writing most days. My aim is to finish this draft by the end of the year so I can spend the first quarter editing it once. It’s probably going to need a lot of edits but more on that some other time. For now, I’m going to enjoy this winning feeling.
Did you participate in NaNoWriMo this year?
How did you go?
***Linking with Kylie for IBOT***
Until next time,