National Novel Writing Month 50,000 words in 30 days. Not as easy as one might think but it is possible!
I did it! (And now you know where I was last month. ) This was the hardest year but not for the reasons you would think. Last year I ended with 46,000 words. I was frantically typing at 11:40 and I knew that there was no way I could get 4000 words written in twenty minutes. I was incredibly disappointed in myself for not working harder.
This year I went into my 11th year of participating with a determination to finish….more than any previous year. I couldn’t get over last year’s defeat and I could only see it as a defeat no matter how hard I tried to change my attitude. So that was it. I was going to write those 50,000 no matter what.
I faced the normal obstacles- carving out time to write, having an idea, characters, etc, and life.
Time. This was always my downfall- even in years when I wasn’t feeling creative juices flowing. It turns out I can babble on about nothing forever….. But putting my writing first, before all of my people who are having such a difficult time this year- that was something I hadn’t been able to do even during the best of times. This year when my husband said “Go write” I did! And when my middle kid/fellow Nano participant, Kris, asked if I wanted to do word sprints, I did! It was difficult to put aside my usual behaviors and take the time I needed.
Characters, plot, setting. The day before Nanowrimo began I still had not nailed down the plot. It was loose. Very loose and vague. I had characters, some of which never grew into real people. They are sitting undeveloped and flat as a piece of paper still. The only thing I knew was the setting. But I powered through. One of my issues has been my unwillingness to write out of order. The minute I write something before it comes in the story or add a chapter that will fit in between two chapters already written, I stumble. It throws me off and I can’t seem to find my footing. I decided if I was going to DO THIS, I needed to set my uneasiness aside and write out of order. I was also strict with sticking to the story and not putting things in there that could be removed later. Instead this year I did character building exercises to flesh out my main characters. I added research about the setting that can be worked into the story if I start the second draft. I gave myself some wiggle room- something I’ve come to notice I don’t do much for myself.
Life. Well, life always seems to get in the way, doesn’t it? Even when we are just sitting here having a pandemic it still happens. This is the one obstacle I struggled with the most and definitely need to fine tune moving forward.
Finally- Pantsing. I’m usually much more organized than I was this year. Pantsing to the extent that I did took a real leap of faith. It did teach me that out of all the obstacles I put in my own way, I definitely need more planning. And with more planning all of my obstacles would definitely be much smaller if not completely gone. I AM NOT A PANTSER!
So there you have it! Don’t be looking for my first bestseller to be hitting the shelves any time soon. Out of my 11 times participating in this contest, this is most definitely the story that will never be anything more than a glorious mess.
If you participated, how did you do?