My NaNoWriMo Experience--First year & winner

Thursday, December 05, 2019



If I were to sum up my NaNoWriMo experience in four words they would be: stressful yet oddly liberating.

It has now been nearly a week since the end of NaNoWriMo, and I have to say, I miss it. I am an unnervingly deadline-driven person, so having a set goal to work toward was the best motivator I've had. Of course, there's always the challenge of finishing the book and perfecting it that's an excellent driver, but I miss the deadline.

For a lot of the month, I was about a day behind because I would catch up then have another non-writing day that set me back. However, I finished NaNoWriMo on November 30th with 50,135 words to show for it. Such a goal is no easy feat, so to anyone who completed it or made the attempt, congrats!

When you break down the 50,000-word goal, it actually isn't as much as it sounds. It's just 1,600 words a day. The goal of NaNoWriMo is to engrain a writing routine in your life. It showed me where I could easily be writing throughout my day rather than wasting time on social media or bingeing Vikings (which I will do, nonetheless). And once you fall into a routine and a groove in your writing, that many words won't take long. That is the most valuable thing I learned from NaNo: I do have time to write and still do all the things I usually do.

It's interesting to reflect back on the month and see how my novel had transformed, which always comes with writing. On November 30th, of all days, I had an epiphany in my novel, so I'm nearly back to square one. At least I have a timeline and a frame to guide me. NaNo is for first drafts, and the first draft should never be comparable to the final draft.

My strategy for the month was just getting down words even if I felt uncomfortable with them because as I said, NaNo is for first drafts. I think that is the only thing we can do as writers is just getting the words down. Writing is rewriting, but you'll have nothing to rewrite if you don't put them down in the first place. When it does get a bit overwhelming or you're unsure of the words but you know the direction in which they will lead, skip a scene of two. Get yourself back on your feet and let your story write itself by going with what feels natural. The scene or two that you skipped will come back to you.

When NaNo rolls around next year, I'll compile a list of tips that I learned throughout the month. Although I was only a first-year participant, I feel that I learned quite a lot. For example, don't edit. At all. This was something I really struggled with during the middle because I was growing unhappy with the story, but once I pushed through by just putting down words, I quickly turned it around.

For the past week, I have been itching to attack my story. The world-building phase and the second draft phase are my favorite parts of the novel-writing process. I've been patiently waiting for both the end of my final exams and for the story to sit before I go back in. I've been steadily coming up with new ideas and new turns that will really elevate the story, so I'm craving to flush them out.

Do let me know in the comments below how NaNoWriMo went for you! Also, please let me know if there are any writing topics you want me to discuss or anything NaNo-specific you would like to learn about.

Thanks for reading,
Taylor . x

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