I DID IT! I participated in NaNoWriMo 2012 and successfully completed it! National Novel Writing Month took place from Nov. 1st until Nov. 30th, and the one and only goal was to write a 50,000 word story (completed or not). This was something I had dreamed of participating in ever since high school, but the month of November always seemed like such a busy month for academia. When I was younger, I used to roleplay stories and ideas in my head all the time. The material for fictional stories was endless, but when I started getting caught up in school and getting older, it dwindled until there wasn’t much left. Even when the creativity was flowing freely, I never could sit down and finish writing a completed story. I always ending up writing snippets of scenes, but I could never write one full piece.
NaNoWriMo is looked down upon by a lot of people, believe it or not, but I find it a really inspiring event. It’s an event to abandon your fears and inhibitions, to find camaraderie among other aspiring writers, to practice writing under pressure, to get into the habit of writing daily, to give yourself a tangible deadline, and to push yourself to do something difficult.
A fifty thousand word draft is forty thousand words more than I have ever written for a story before, so to finish 50k in less than a month’s time feels like such a great achievement. Although I hit the 50k mark, I did not complete my story. If I were to estimate the word count of the final, completed story…it’s hard to say, but I would guess after revision, adding things, and deleting things, it will be somewhere between 60k and 90k. That’s still a lot left to write and a ton to edit…so this is a work in progress that will take a long time if I ever want to see it completed. Here’s the thing, though. Without NaNoWriMo, I wouldn’t even have gotten to this spot! I would have been 50,000 words less with no story at all. My story, by the way, was conjured up on November 1st, so I really started thinking about it on the spot.
I really love looking at the progression of my writing in the graph. The straight gray line is the target amount of words you should be reaching every day if you want to write the same amount of words every day until you finish at day 30. Up until day 25, it really looks like I was a slacker who didn’t have a chance in finishing. Then at day 25 I started busting my butt to get a LOT of writing done. A surprise victory! In a nutshell: I basically started off NaNo being pretty good at staying close to the target amount. Then I started slowing down and falling more behind. Next, I went into a period of over a week where I just wasn’t feeling it anymore, went into denial, and eventually I was ready to give up. Finally, I pulled it together and made a surprising comeback.
After getting more involved in the forums at the NaNo site, I was inspired by all of the people still staying in the game and trying their best, despite there being some people who were in even worse shape than I was! So everyday I worked harder at raising my word count. The last few days were truly hardcore as I went from writing 3k a day, to 5k a day, and finally 10k in the final day!
The last two days of November were really draining on me. On Thursday night, I made it my goal to hit 45k before I went to bed – which was 4:30am. Then, on Friday I woke up at 8am to go sample sale shopping with a friend and my boyfriend (will post about this later!). We spent the whole day and I didn’t get home to start writing until past 8pm so by then I was exhausted AND terrified of not being able to finish in four hours! I made a few changes in how I approached my writing speed and made words fly everywhere…and somehow I reached the finish line. I celebrated by opening the box of foldable shoes (will also post more about later!) I had gotten in the mail and tried on all of the cute clothes I got for dirt cheap at the sample sale.
It was pretty amazing. NaNoWriMo is over, but I don’t want to abandon my story just because NaNoWriMo is over. Here’s hoping I can see the completed ending and revision of the story someday!
Stay tuned for my list of 10 things NaNoWriMo has taught me! And just a lot of blog posts from me in general.