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Wednesday, 2 December 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009: In Summary



So. December. Time to forget about crazy writing goals and move on to thinking about Christmas, right?

Well..... imminently. But first, as with all good things that end too soon, I need to have a NaNo post mortem.

NaNoWriMo victory!
Yes, I took a photo of my screen instead of a screenshot. I was half asleep!

To put these ramblings into context, I should point out that I've done NaNo twice before in the last two years, both times successfully.

For my first attempt in 2007 I was excessively keen and, with the help of a solid plan, a lot of late nights, and two weekends with my fingers glued to the keyboard, I managed to reach 50,000 words in 14 days. I should have used the rest of the month to write more, but no. I didn't write another word for about two months.

Last year, having learnt something of a lesson about burn-out, I decided to pace myself. I had an exciting idea to explore, but I started the month with only a main character and a 'concept' statement. The fleshing out of that concept into a fully-fledged plot over the course of the next 30 days was one of those organic miracles that only happens when you make yourself "just write". I finished only a couple of days ahead of schedule, but I wasn't fed up of writing.

So I know I can write 50,000 words in a month. Been there, done that. Nothing left to prove, in that respect.

This year I wanted a different challenge. This year I wanted to find out whether I could write well at that speed. Could I turn out 50,000 words and be proud to stand behind them? Could I generate 1667 words of solid first-draft material each and every day? And would I be completely exhausted by the end of the process?

It didn't help that I fell ill on the 2nd, so progress over the whole month felt painfully slow. I fell behind almost immediately and didn't catch up until the 20th. But on the other hand, I know there are some people who're happy to be behind until the 30th, and still make it.

I reached 50,117 on November 28th, and reached the end of my novel in the process (I was technically a NaNo Rebel this year, by putting my words towards an existing project).

On the whole, I'd have to say my 'quality' experiment was a success.

Of course, a first draft is always a first draft. It needs more work - lots of it. But it's writing of the same standard as my normal first drafts which, as I've mentioned previously, have actually been rewritten several times. I didn't try to stop myself editing and rewriting as I went along (I deleted hundreds of words) and nor did I do anything specifically to increase my word count (aside from sitting down and writing, obviously!).

Now I just have to decide which book to write next........

17 comments:

Christy said...

congratulations on finishing...and ahead of schedule..wow!
Although I am not a writer, I love the idea of not letting theory, or rules stop the creative process. It is a good lesson for all of life, no?

btw--gonna try your carrot and lentil soup recipe..looks delicious.

Monique-aka-Surferwife23 said...

Congratulations to you!! That is no small feat, girl!

Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Melissa B. said...

I've tried to set writing goals, but they just won't stick. I find I do much better just "hanging out" in the blogosphere, writing when I want and what moves me. Although I did do NaBloPoMo, which was oddly stressful...

Chad Zahara said...

You are an inspiration. I don't know if I could ever write a whole novel in a month! Congratulations. ^_^

Chad Zahara said...

Also, is that Linux I see? How wonderfully rebellious you are! ^_~

Fly Girl said...

Very impressive. The hardest part ofwriting is sitting down and doing it.

Jeanne said...

I bow to you!

Writing 50,000 words is an achievement, even if it's throw-away; writing something you can keep and work on is nothing short of amazing.

Lauren said...

I seriously wish I could finish the book I've started. My ideas are so huge I'm convinced it needs to be fleshed into two books, and I thought of doing NaNo, but by the time I thought of it the month of November was one day from transitioning into December. Plus, it's ridiculously hard to write, work a job, and go to school all at the same time. That's why I've dedicated myself to learning how to cook and working on my book all through Christmas break. Hopefully, I can stick to it, and congratulations on your book! :D

Visiting from SITS.

mo.stoneskin said...

I have a lot of respect for any of you that have reached 50k, or even 50,117!

J said...

Can I have an injection of the 'just write' mode. I had high hopes for writing this week but instead have been battling the desire to sleep all day...The only solution I can think of is that I'm slowly turning into a cat.

LadyFi said...

Brilliant news that you can write lots and well!

Yay for you!

Laura said...

I also love free writing and brainstorming and waiting to see where it will take me. I promise to write this weekend. Thank you so much for your blog comment love to Under the Sheets yesterday. I can't wait to read more about you...

Emily said...

The NaNoMo is brutal with its demands. Well done for doing it! I couldn't!

Emily said...

I forgot to say Happy SITS Saturday Sharefest.

Bells said...

gosh I admire you so much for sticking to this and doing so well. Really hard work there and to set yourself that kind of 'quality' standard is impressive indeed!

julie70 said...

My own writing goal is only to be there, day by day for those reading my French and my English blog.

I miss some days out, but not often.

Knowing someone is there, weather only three or ten or hundreds, motivate me not to deceive them.

Also, now, as I give speeches, I think a lot more, before creating them, no, let us say, I create them thinking, not just writing in a flow as I used to do (and still do often on my blogs).

Goals are great to motivate! Even better when you know, sometimes they can lead to to unknown path and discoveries!

Go for them!

VampireSmitten said...

that is very impressive! Congrats on the 50K! I finished as well too, just barely!

http://eightdaysaweek.net

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