I know this post is late, after all, National Novel Writing Month was in November. But after a busy Christmas season and a fresh start to the New Year, I decided to give you a peek at what it was like for a first-time NaNoWriMo contestant to write 50k words in 30 days
What is National Novel Writing Month?
National Novel Writing month, affectionately called NaNoWriMo, is a challenge for fiction writers (and the occasional non-fiction writer) to write 1,600 words every day for 30 days. The goal is to reach 50k words by the end of the month and hold a completed novel in your had.
Why compete in NaNoWriMo?
1. It teaches consistency like no amount of self-discipline can ever do.
2. It forces you to write - not edit. First drafts are not meant to be edited until they are complete and when you are writing this many words per day, you don't have time to do anything but tell the story and hope it turns out read-able.
3. It. Is. Fun.
What was my biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge was learning to throw perfection to the wind and just write. With most of my projects, I tend to work over a certain scene several times until it is exactly how I want it before moving on. I find that is the easiest way to erase any obstacles or inconstancies. But when it comes down to NaNo, and the clock is ticking, you learn to jump over the obstacles by either making something up, or promising to come back to it later. Its about the word count, not the content.
What helped me make it through November without getting exhausted or running out of inspiration?
I have always been a pantser - I don't plot, I write on the edge of my seat and wait for the story to unfold naturally from my imagination. This doesn't work for everyone, but it is my favorite way of writing.
NaNoWriMo, however, was different.
I spent the last half of October plotting, planning, and scene-sketching until I knew exactly what I wanted to write every day. This was my greatest weapon during November. Rather than having to worry about a sudden writer's block in the midst of a chapter, I could simply turn to my outline - my "170-bullet-points" outline to be exact.
What was my favorite part?
I loved having a way to track my progress and it was oh so fun watching the word count of my novel climb day by day! My favorite part of the challenge, however, was announcing to my family that I had actually completed it. It is moments like those that I am reminded how they really are my biggest fans.
The Highlights of my journey:
Wordiest Day: 5,184 words on November 13th
Passing 100 pages during the final week (this is always one of my favorites with every novel I write).
November 30th: The day I got a sweet t-shirt out of the whole deal.
So... did I win or lose?
If you haven't already guess, I won. I finished on November 30th at exactly 50,046 words, and I can't wait for next year!
Have you ever competed in NaNoWriMo? What was your favorite part? I would love to hear about it!