Lessons From NaNoWriMo (2015 Edition)7:00 AM
This past month I participated in NaNoWriMo (and won!) for the third year straight. Here's what went down this time around.
Last year I was finished with the goal of 50k a little less than halfway through the month. How? I honestly don't remember.
It's been a really, really weird year, in lots of ways. I've had a lot of stuff heaped onto the pile that I didn't have last year. (One of those things is a life.) So I started to freak out when -- surprise! -- NaNo was realistically difficult. I thought something was wrong with me when I didn't have the same desire to spend all day and all night typing away madly. I was a failure when I hated my story at times. I was screwing up my entire writing career and losing horribly when it was an effort to meet the average word count or when, heaven forbid, I missed a day. I pushed myself. It was stressful. It was kinda scary, and a little miserable for a few days in the middle of it.
After those few days, however, I started to realize a thing: I wasn't going to do more than 50k in November. And that was okay. It was okay if I didn't get 50k in November. My success during NaNoWriMo wasn't determined by my word count, or whether or not I wrote more than the average NaNo-er. (Confession: I have a bit of a struggle with wanting to be better than other writers sometimes.)
On the 25th, I hit 50k. Somehow. I summed up the rest of the story in the last few thousand words because I didn't feel like writing more of it after this month, which is okay because it's a first draft and I like to allow those to absolutely suck anyway. By that time I felt...better about it. Happy with what I did. After all, I learned some cool stuff this month, and did some things I've never done before, and that was fun. Some of that stuff included:
I went to an official NaNo Write-In. And it was awesome. I had coffee and talked with other writers and laughed about shooting characters and discussed names and did word sprints and got to satisfying my writer side and my extrovert side all at the same time, which was pretty neat. Writing with people is basically my favorite thing.
I wrote something set in the modern world. I've never done that before, except in a short story or two. I like to keep myself in alternate histories, or the cold heart of space, or basically anything sci-fi and not having to do with reality. The bright side to writing something set in the modern world? I got to use all my pop culture references.
|I spent a lot of time laughing at myself.|
I flailed with other writers. I had the best fun sharing snippets on Twitter and flailing over other writers' snippets and generally sharing what I was working on with people who seemed to genuinely appreciate it. I don't do that a lot with first drafts.
Long story short: this NaNo was a rough one, but I had fun anyway. Now excuse me while I wait for next November, so I can do it all again.
What did NaNo (or writing in general) teach you this month?