Reflections of a NaNo Noob

So, November. That was a fun month, yeah? Eventful to say the least. But of all the madness and chaos that went down, there was one event that took the crazy cake.

NaNoWriMo.

Amirite?

Of course I am.

Whatever your word count at the end of this crazy month was, I commend you.

Whether you knocked your word count out of the park, missed it by a long shot, or just barely walked the line, you accomplished something major.

Because NaNo is BIG. Committing to write a novel? That’s great! Committing to do the same IN A MONTH? What kind of insane person does that?

Well, my friend, we do.

I’ll admit, this was the first year that I’ve ever done NaNo, so I went into it relatively unprepared (read: oblivious). By the end of the month, I was fairly confident that I was going to die. Ok, that may be a bit much, but really. I remember the last stretch basically telling myself every day there was no way in hell I was going to finish. And the way I watched the Nano growth tracker? Bordeline obsessive.

Oh who am I kidding? It was obsessive. Full-on.

But, aside from all the frustration, angst, and general self-loathing that went on, NaNo taught me some invaluable lessons about my writing.

Here’s what I found.

1. Goal setting is a powerful thing. I mean, I have always been a pretty big fan of goals, but let me tell you, I LIVED BY that 1,667 words a day. It was my anchor. Being able to check my words off every day kept me on track, and made me push even harder on days I fell behind. If it wasn’t for those goals (and possibly my above-average competitive streak), I wouldn’t have made it past the first week.

2.  NaNo writing is COMPLETELY different than ‘normal’ writing. At least for me. My normal writing ‘style’ is much more deliberate. The number of words written is not nearly as important to me as how the actual words read. Usually I’ll even go back in and edit the last section I wrote as I prep my brain for the next installment. I couldn’t do that with NaNo. The first few days were especially hard as I had to re-train my mindset to quantity over quality. Now, I’m not saying everything I wrote was crap, but I’m quite certain my red pen is going to bleed all over the draft when the time comes. Worth it? Yes, I think so. (I’ll confirm once editing begins).

3.  Sometimes, you just gotta write. Whether it feels like you are physically pulling teeth, or you’re slapping crap on paper, if you want to make 1,667 words 30 DAYS IN A ROW, you just have to get the words out. Even if you’ve sat in front of your computer for an hour and the only thing going through your head are bad pop lyrics, keep pushing. The words will come. They may not be inspired from on high, but that’s what editing is for. And who knows, maybe once you go back to them a month, two months, or however long from now it takes, you’ll be surprised at the hidden potential in your word dump.

Of course, if I was writing a comprehensive list, there are several other things I could venture to include (my husband is an infinitely patient man, my kids are TOTALLY ok with eating pizza 3 out of 7 dinners a week, as the parent of a toddler it takes approximately 2.5 days to go without tidying until your house looks like a tornado has struck), but I won’t (except, I guess I already did, oops!).

Suffice it to say, NaNo has taught me a lot. About my family, myself, and my writing. And while it was probably one of the most difficult challenges I have ever done, I am SO thankful that I did it.

Will I do it next year? We’ll see. I guess it depends on what’s going on with Alice (WANDERLAND) and Peter (NEVERLAND). I may have to sign on as a NaNo Rebel. Who knows? That’s a whole year away, and if 2016 taught us ANYTHING, it’s that a year is a REALLY long time.

What’s next?

Finishing NEVERLAND. NaNo gave me a good head start, but I’ve still got a lot of work to do.. And I can’t wait to do it.

Because, Writing and all that.

 

 

 

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4 thoughts on “Reflections of a NaNo Noob

  1. This was my first year too! I agree it was madness and beauty wrapped in a blanket of daily goals. I’m so happy to hear it was a great experience for you. I really gained a lot from it and hope to do it again next year. Although, as you said, a year is a long time!

    Liked by 1 person

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