Wednesday, December 7, 2011

More Lessons From Failing NaNoWriMo

Last year, I tried to do NaNoWriMo. And I failed. And I wrote this post about the lessons I'd learned from failing.

This year, I decided to do Nano again, and I really had high hopes for what I could accomplish. After all, this time last year my husband and I had just bought our first home, and we were in the midst of getting inspections and picking out paint colors and packing up our entire lives. Now, a year later, we were settled into our home and I would have no other outside distractions...right?

Right.

Sort of.

The first week of November, I managed to stay mostly on pace. And I thought--foolishly--that it would be smooth sailing from then on, and now, in the beginning of December, I'd be sitting here with a finished novel and my editing pen in hand.

Turns out, making a room go from this to "man cave" takes a lot of work. 

But of course, then life got busy. We started finishing our basement. Coaching for swimming started. And life just kept getting in the way!

So, now here I am, and how many words did I write in November? About 12,000 altogether. Y'know, just a few thousand shy of 50k...like 38,000 short.

But I did set some other November goals, back in this post.

My two, smaller-than-50,000-words goals were to:

1) Keep writing even if a point came when I knew I wouldn't make it to fifty thousand words.
2) To try my best to write three times a week.

In those goals, I did a little bit better. I didn't always write three times a week, but I definitely devoted more thought & energy to my writing than I had in past months. Which meant even when I knew there was no way I was going to hit 50,000, I kept working and I tried not to get discouraged.

Also, and perhaps most useful of all, I learned a lot about how I work best as a writer. I always prided myself on being a pantser. When I would send a chapter to the other members of the FNC, they'd email back and say, "What happens next?" and I'd go, "Oh, y'know, stuff...something exciting...or something..." because the truth was I didn't really know. I'd always had a beginning, a climactic moment and an ending in my head, but that was pretty much about it. Because it was about the journey! The excitement of figuring out what was happening as I went! Right?

It turns out...those plotters kind of have a point. I plotted out the last portion of my novel for Nano pretty meticulously--scene by scene, all the way from middle to the words The End.

And the crazy thing was that it made writing a lot easier, especially when I was crunched for time. I didn't have to spend nearly as much time re-reading my own work to remember where I was and what was going on when I stopped writing last time. And the fear that I had would come with planning--that the excitement of writing would diminish, that knowing exactly what was going on wouldn't be nearly as much fun--turned out to not be true at all. If anything, knowing what was going to happen made things more exciting because I could see the story growing my mind with more clarity and completeness than before.

So even though I didn't win Nano, or come close, I did learn some valuable lessons about goal-setting and plotting. Which is kind of a win in itself, if you think about it.

What about all of you? Did you win Nano by hitting 50k? Or win it in another way?


No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks so much for reading our blog, and we really appreciate you taking the time to comment! We read every one, and we try to respond to all of them via email/comment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...