Well, friends – it’s over.
November is over, another NaNoWriMo has come and gone, and I am so excited to say I WON!!
I wound up sprinting over the finish line with 50,079 words. Technically my novel, The Witch’s Patron isn’t finished yet but it’s pretty damn close. My plan moving forward is to finish it up and then send it out to a few beta readers for edits and feedback. With any luck I’ll have something ready to post in early 2017!
It’s hard to say whether or not the story itself is any good. Writing 50K words in 30 days doesn’t leave a whole lot of time for re-reading or revisions. But hopefully I have nothing worth sharing once it’s been all polished up.
This is my first time ever finishing NaNoWriMo (and only my second time ever attempting it) and I’ve got to say, it was one hell of a learning experience. You figure out a lot about your writing style when you’re trying to crank out thousands of words every day. While TSATO is likely already over 50k in length, writing a story from start to finish all at once gives you a much better sense of how much actually happens throughout the course of a novel.
While it’s all still fresh in my mind, here are a few other things I learned in 30 days of NaNoWriMo madness:
- Personally, 1,000 – 2,000 words per day is totally manageable and within my comfort zone. 5,000 is not (at least not on top of working full time AND other responsibilities.)
- Having an outline before writing is a lifesaver. Even if you stray from it, at least you still have a basic idea of what you need to write and where you’re headed.
- Not editing while you write makes you SO much more productive and ultimately saves you loads of time. Get the first draft down and leave making it pretty as a problem for Future You to solve.
- Be gentle with yourself: some days you’re going to be full of inspiration and other days you’re going to have to fight for even a few hundred words. IT’S OKAY.
- It’s easier to find time to sneak in words throughout the day than you’d think. Pro-tip: get Google Docs on your phone. It’s a lifesaver!
- Writing may be a solitary endeavour but it doesn’t have to be isolating. Find other people who write (be it in person or online) and stay in touch with them throughout your process. Having people to talk to who get what you’re going through helps a LOT.
- Don’t sweat it if your story ends up going places you didn’t necessarily anticipate. You might be amazed by what you end up with! (Case in point: a name I wound up sticking into some dialogue for the sake of conversation not only wound up becoming and actual character but turned out to be integral to the story itself!)
- Your first draft is probably going to suck. Be at peace with that.
- Finally, as the folks at NaNoWriMo like to remind us: every word your write is a word you didn’t have before you started. Don’t let fear of failure prevent you from trying!
What kids of lessons did you learn during your NaNoWriMo experience? Share them in the comments!