As the dust settles from this year’s NaNoWriMo, I am looking forward to reflecting over the past month, while also looking to the future (which I’ll save for another post).
(Before I get into it, one last time for 2018, be sure to check out today’s NaNoToons if you haven’t already: 2018 – December 1st)
It was roller coaster this year. I kept thinking of things one way, then finding out I was wrong, and I thought I’d written the climax at least twice before I actually did.
To start with, I gave myself the badge for having a “Eureka Moment” on day 13. That was when I still thought the story was a pure romance, but I needed a bit more meat to the story. But over the course of the month, as I began to realize what this story really was, I had the mother of all “Aha!” moments late at night on day 25. (I will explain more about this tomorrow in a longer post, but I want to keep this one more of an overview of the month.)
I then proceeded to pants the rest of the novel, since I was so far off my outline it wasn’t even funny (my outline had ended when the romance reached fruition, but I now had to go past that). And that led to a series of smaller, but equally exciting, “Aha!” moments as I wrote the final climax and conclusion.
This badge is gained by updating your word count every day. The last 2 NaNos, I didn’t write every day for reasons that were vastly different between the 2 years. This year, I was determined to do that, maybe as much as anything because I was really hoping to get back into the habit of doing some sort of writing work every day, even after NaNo ended. I haven’t had that habit for probably close to 3 years now. It makes me very sad.
I am well aware that some of the things I did to make sure to get words in this month won’t work outside of NaNo. For example, during NaNo, I am writing the first draft, rather than revising, brainstorming ways to get past issues, or just writing practice. I pick up where I left on in the scene the previous day, and for the most part, just write. Revising, rewriting, fixing, etc. on an already drafted novel tends to not be as quick of work. Also, I can convince my family that I need to shut myself away for half an hour to get at least some writing work done for this month, but outside of that, they tend to ignore my pleas. However, if I write most days from here on, I will still be very happy.
I was actually really excited when this error message popped up in my Word document on the 27th. I saw it for the first time in 2014, and it made me feel like I was truly doing NaNo right. Ever since then, I’ve wondered if it would happen again. In a document of 50,000+ words, when you’re doing your best to ignore the mistakes and keep going, adding in all of the names of people and locations, apparently it can get to be a bit much for Word to handle. After I got this error message, the curvy red, green, and even blue underlines stopped showing up, which was fine with me.
Between the days when I thought the story would be too short and over too quickly and slowed down on writing, and the days when I realized I’d added too much and might not finish by the end of the month, I averaged 2894 words this month. I ended the month with 86,000 words, but to me, the most important thing was that I finished the draft.
I don’t share any of this to brag; I know that it much easier for me to get the words out than it is for some people. I also know there are people who accomplished quite a bit more during NaNo, with more difficult circumstances than I had. And I know many people who didn’t win, and I don’t want any of them to think that I am better off than them. We are all winners for having any words more at the end of the month than at the beginning.
I’ve said this many times, and I still believe it–NaNoWriMo isn’t for everyone. But for those of us who love it, it is quite the month!
How about you? How did your month go? Did you learn anything or accomplish any big moments this month? Or did you skip NaNo this year?