NaNoWriMo ended yesterday, and I managed to breach 50,000 words before noon! I even hit what could be called “the end”, though I did rush through things a little bit in order to give the story a final scene. But that doesn’t matter — I’m all done, I’ve got my digital certificate, and I’ve got a newly finished novel that I can now plan to completely, utterly change.
To wrap things up for me, here are some thoughts I’ve had during NaNoWriMo, and also now that it’s done:
- Writing was easier this time. I’ve had years where I struggled, years where I could not finish, years with bad starts. But this year, despite a week-late start, the words didn’t seem to clog up in my head like they usually do. I rarely had a hard time reaching the suggested 1,667 minimum, and usually manged to break 2,000 words in order to catch myself back up. How did that happen?
- A hundred words is still a hundred words. Some days when I would write sporadically and fill up my word count drop by drop, it felt like I wasn’t making real progress. Sometimes there’s only a few minutes to crank something out, and that feels like the opposite of progress. But do that a few times a day, and suddenly you have 2,000 words. I don’t always have to get it out all at once; sometimes, I can be satisfied doing what I can, when I can.
- Plotting kind of rocks. I think one of the reasons the words came so much more easily to me this year was because I figured out the major plot, plus a lot of side details, before I started the project. Whenever I got stuck, I just looked at my outline, remembered that I wanted my character to have an awkward conversation with her nemesis, and several bloated paragraphs later I had my quota. A lot of those plot points are going up in flames when I go back to edit, but they got me through.
- I need to take time for NaNo (and writing in general). Because I don’t actually get paid as a writer, and I struggle with bad self image, it’s hard not to look at writing time as unnecessary selfishness. But, even if it’s a little selfish, taking my time to feel satisfied with my writing isn’t unnecessary. It makes me feel good, puts me in a good head space, and I have to trust that the people around me understand that.
- People around me will understand that. A few nights, when I was behind and I knew I still had the energy to write, I told my husband I’d be in the office, not watching TV with him, and he understood, and never bugged me to finish before I was ready. He knows that writing’s important to me, and would be the last person, even after me, to tell me to knock it off for anything that wasn’t actually important.
- Of course, the dog will never understand. My need to click on a keyboard, rather than rub her ears or take her on endless walks, will never make sense to her. But she does get me off my butt to walk, which gets the creative energy flowing again, so in her own way, even she helps out.
Fellow Wrimos, how did you do this turn around? Did you win? Did you come close? Will you be editing this novel, or is it shelved forever? While I’ve ditched plenty of NaNos in my day, I plan on coming back to this story sometime soon — maybe I’ll be blogging about that, too!