On finishing NaNoWriMo …

On finishing NaNoWriMo …

Oh my word, November you were an absolute cracker.

Like many participants of NaNoWriMo, I started out very enthusiastic. I was excited about my story idea and I had a good chunk of the novel planned as well as fairly good ideas of who my characters were. Needless to say, this enthusiasm did not last the duration of the month.

So, did I achieve my goals?

Anyone who has me on Snapchat or has seen me in the past two days knows that I finished – actually with 51,876 words – over a day’s worth of extra words (this is nothing on some of the other people I was writing alongside, but I still think it’s a good effort).

Reaching 50,000 words? Tick.

In my history as a student and as a past NaNoWriMo participant, I’ve found that I always do just enough to scrape through. P’s get degrees, etc etc. I wanted to push myself a little further and actually do more than what was required. I achieved that with the aforementioned 51,876 words but I also achieved it (particularly in the last week), by writing more than the required daily words whenever I could. Of course, sometimes I fell behind, but I tried, whenever possible, to write at least 1667 words per day – even if I had written 3,000 the day before. It didn’t always need to be thousands more than required but just pushing myself to get as far as my energy levels would let me was enough.

Doing more than was required whenever possible? Tick.

Another massive goal of mine was to finish early. My chart shows that I finished one day early, but I perceive it as two days early, since I stayed up late on Tuesday the 28th to finish. It crossed over into Wednesday territory, giving my finish line a 29th time stamp, but I still consider it a two-day success.

Finishing earlier than required? Tick.

I also wanted to write a story that didn’t feel like I was just throwing random things at my characters. The last story I wrote for NaNoWriMo was just a big old mess. I didn’t want this story to feel like that. I think I achieved that – I am not at all proud of the actual story, but I do rate it better than the last one I wrote, which is all it really needs to be for now.

Crafting a better story than last time? Tick.

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Realistically, what have I learnt?

The biggest thing I learnt – and it’s an obvious one – is that the whole thing is a lot easier if you just stick to the word count each day (or surpass it). You can actually see my realisation of this in my progress chart. You take one day off and suddenly you’re writing 3,333 words the next day. Take another day off and then you’re 5,000 behind – the mountain becomes real big, real quick.

The most frustrating thing about NaNoWriMo is that it’s self-inflicted pain. You can stop at any point, no one is making you do it! But this is also the most inspiring part of NaNoWriMo – look at all those people all around the world attempting this challenge. You get nothing at the end, just the satisfaction of having done it and also some writing practice, but that’s the best part!

It’s actually not supposed to be easy. If it were, everyone would do it all the time. It’s supposed to feel like hard work. And it bloody does.

See you next year, NaNoWriMo, when I will have chosen to forget how stressful you make November.

 

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