Pardon me while I try to resist the urge to hum “This is the End” by the Doors 😉
If you’d like to read the guest post I did on Jami Gold’s fantastic blog about when you’re done NaNo and not quite sure where to go next, please go ahead and give that a gander if you’re so inclined.
So, we’ve done it, friends. We’ve reached the end of NaNoWriMo and I think we should celebrate, no matter what our final word count is, that we got words down and we committed them to paper or to screen. We worked towards a goal. We fought for the worlds we have created in our minds. We were all part of a cohesive force of energy dedicated to fiction and to writing.
As I’ve mentioned a few times before in my NaNo-related posts, the reason I decided to participate was not to “win” or anything related to numeric achievements. I have written several novels before and I know I can hit 50,000. But this time around, it was a commitment to a single project with a dedicated focus to work toward manifesting my goal of writing this particular novel, which is still my Untitled YA Southern Gothic Novel. I am hoping to be able to sustain that into December with 20 to 30,000 more words, but on a slightly more scaled-down basis, not writing 7 days a week but rather trying for at least 4, but ideally 5, as I was doing in October in preparation.
As far as I’m concerned, even though I’ve hit 50,000 words this month, I succeeded not because of that numerical value but because I made a commitment to write every single day in November toward the goal of finishing a first draft of this novel, which is the first one I’ve written in a few years.
I’m going to have to discuss revision plans with my writing coach going forward so that I don’t lose momentum or fall out of sync with the world I’ve built, and of course, I changed the plot architecture a few times, which was definitely concerning, but this third change, as they say, has proven so far to be the charm, and I’ve been going along a lot better with this because it feels more organic. The conflicts feel far more real to me, the goals more fleshed out and logical, and I’m hoping to be able to have done a good execution of things all around (or at least decent) and to be able to transform this first draft into a much-improved revision.
Writing with chronic pain and a disability is not fun. I also had a lot of curveballs to navigate around, including medications and when certain ones make me sleepy and how to incorporate writing, and scheduling plus appointments and other commitments, and unexpected things that cropped up, but I think that even though I questioned my sanity a few times during the process and definitely had at least one breakdown, the presence of my writing coach and their support played a huge role in my productivity and the end result.
I did tend to write first thing in the morning, with headphones and dark ambient music. I also tended to write better on a full stomach, and preferably after coffee so I could be, you know, awake and semi-conscious 😉 And I worked through everything as best as I could. Many a morning I would get up and drag myself to the internet-less older laptop I use and I would not feel like writing. At all. But, as they say, if you wait until you’re “in the mood” or “the muse strikes you” or whatever, the writing is not going to get done. One has to push through that unpleasantness and find a way through it. The only way out is through, and all that.
I’ve been off Facebook for several months now, and I mainly stick to Twitter, so even though I did still have my social media time, it didn’t feel as negative this time around, and I feel like I managed that overall situation better. I mean, of course, we all have those periods where we should be writing fiction but instead we’re on social media, and I’m certainly not immune to that, but I feel like this time, even though I skidded off the rails a few times, I came back and kept fighting for this manuscript.
At the end of November 2015, when I wrapped up NaNoWriMo for the first time, I wasn’t sure whether I would ever attempt this project again. At the time, I had cited the phrase “never say never,” and I’m glad I did, because I certainly wasn’t expecting to be in a position to do NaNoWriMo again a few years later, but I’m glad I made the commitment.
What about you, fellow scribes? How did your experience of NanoWriMo go? Are you a die-hard participant who partakes every single year or do you prefer to steer clear altogether? For those who haven’t participated in NanoWriMo, do you have any tricks to productivity or things that help you produce more writing? Sound off below!