Welcome to my post-NaNoWriMo Writing Diaries! Until now, you have been accompanying my preparation and expectations for my novel and for my first experience with NaNoWriMO. Today, you are about to find how it all went. Spoilers: I do have a 50k draft now.
Why NaNoWriMo is doable
I have heard about NaNoWriMo before, and I admit I thought I would never be able to do it. Write 50k in one month? That sounds crazy! Well, this year I have decided I would need a push to finish my draft (Yes I tend to procrastinate), so regardless of how many words I’d end up with, I figured out it wouldn’t hurt to try. I made this decision in September, so I had time to prepare myself. I have done a lot of research, read a lot of material, and outlined the basics of my novel as you can read on my previous writing diaries.
The most important is that I accepted the fact that I needed to write a draft – not a polished novel (yet). I think that’s what makes NaNoWriMo doable. As long as you understand that this is a draft and that you need to keep writing without looking back, without editing anything, then you’ll be fine. Sure, life gets in the way. At some point, I thought I wouldn’t be able to make it. Would I still be a winner? Definitely. Everyone is a winner. You still have more words than what you’ve had before November started. We are all winners!
Then the other great thing about NaNoWriMo is that it teaches you how to find time to write. It’s amazing that I’ve discovered I had more time than I thought I did. If you turn off your inner editor, you’ll actually have so much fun writing your story – which is what matters at this stage – and you’ll just spill words nonstop. You’ll find your inner child, back when you used to write for fun only. You can edit, tweak, correct plot holes later.
For one entire month, I would get home every single day (exhausted after work) with one thought in my mind: I have 1667 words to write. This is great pressure. Even if I’d say to myself “Yeah, that’s fine, I’ll just go read or watch a bit of TV for a while”, the thought was still there. As someone else said, if you have to be occupied, it’s better to be occupied doing something than being occupied doing nothing.
Then I’d open my Scrivener file. And there were days when the motivation was simply not there. There were days I typed 100 words, and there were days I went way beyond the 1667 words.
What I regret most is not having typed more when the inspiration was there. I remember there were days when everything was flowing so nicely, then I’d say: “Well, I have 2k, that’s fine for today.” – WRONG! I could have typed so much more during those days. At least, I have learned something about my own writing habits. I am not the type of person who writes “a little every day”, my issue is that initial push. Once I am at it, I can type forever.
Another thing I learned about me? It’s that pressure helps indeed. One week until 30th November, and I was still behind. I thought I wouldn’t make it. Then, I spent most of the last Sunday of the month of November typing. It was beautiful, an amazing feeling. I was living my story, and the words were just coming out! Plus, I knew I couldn’t stop.
Support & Thanks
I couldn’t have done this on my own. I needed the push! I couldn’t have done it without NaNoWriMo, and I couldn’t have done it without my amazing writing buddies.
So while I didn’t want to share my challenge with my colleagues or people present in my daily life – which NaNoWriMo actually recommends you to do, I did have a LOT of support online!
I have to say thanks to Camilla, my first writing buddy @NaNoWriMo, who actually had to read through my long essays (I can’t thank her enough)! We debated about the Fantasy genre, our own plots, brainstormed together, and now we have plans of beta-reading each other when the time comes.
Many thanks also to Micah @roughwriters for all the support in the group, motivation, and great ideas for a novel that I want to beta-read too! Rough Writers is this great community for writers that I’ve found through Peter who messaged me via nanomail. So thanks to Peter as well for creating this. If you are a writer, feel free to join too. It’s not a critique community, but more of a community to support writers (of course, you can create your own group, so if you want to create a critique group, that’s fine too). I have created an accountability group for NaNoWriMo, and now we are planning on making a December post-NaNoWriMo support group – we will all have goals for December, etc. Again, if you want to join, even if you haven’t participated in NaNoWriMo but you have writing goals for December, then let me know!
And thanks to Troy @booklikes for being my supporter #1, always having words of motivation and believing in me, even when I didn’t! I can’t thank him enough. It has been a great help and huge encouragement.
And thanks to everyone else who took their time to drop me words of support and encouragement during the month of November. I appreciate every single one of them.
So I have finished NaNoWriMo as an official ‘NaNoWriMo Winner’ and with a 50k draft. This is not a complete first draft because my story goes beyond 50k. I am guessing around 90-100k but I don’t want to set a word count now. So, I still have the first draft to finish. After the first draft, of course, comes the editing – the hard part. And then, the beta-reading. Then, more editing. It might take me a while, I am not going to lie.
I have to be honest and say that since the end of November, I haven’t written much. I needed the break, so I plan on getting back to it next week and start defining goals. Certainly, I don’t want the same amount of pressure as in November, but enough pressure to keep me going. I also want to catch up with my reading, and I want to keep reading material that will help me with plot and writing in general. I definitely do not want to rush now, but I don’t want to give up either.
As I have mentioned above, there’s also the group @roughwriters where we plan to come up with personal goals and basically just support each other.
And that’s it, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my experience. If you participated in NaNoWriMo in the past or plan to in the future, I’d love to hear about it too. So feel free to leave a comment.