Whether you’ve done NaNoWriMo yourself, have in the past, or was simply just a witness to the countless posts made by the brave writers who were participating in such an event, you can probably guess just how intense writing every day for a month straight would be.
Especially when the goal of reaching 50k looms over your head like a thundercloud.
Intensity doesn’t even begin to describe NaNo. There were many French Vanillas consumed during the fourteen days I was an active participant.
Now you’re probably wondering, only fourteen? I thought NaNo is all of November? And you’re right, it is. But my experience was different than most.
I didn’t have the goal of writing 50k, or writing for 30 days straight in the back of my mind. I started about 25k into my drafted manuscript, so for me I was more interested in reaching “THE END” more than anything else.
Which, I did!
So I decided it would be helpful to share some of the things I learned during my NaNo-ing not only because it was my first year participating, but because I hope to encourage some writers who might find themselves in a similar situation that I was and perhaps consider joining next year.
First, let’s talk stats.
The target word count for each day is 1,667 so that by the time you reach day 30 you’ll have hit that 50k mark. At the end of the first day, I was already feeling a boost of confidence for I had come in at 1980 words. And I know that 313 words over the outlined target isn’t a lot, but I was determined to get the draft done. So, by the second and third day I had nearly doubled my first word count entry, bringing my total to 7310. Which was significantly higher than I had expected it to be.
Thus, the momentum had started and after than I was able to reach well over 2k for the rest of the two weeks.
The anomaly was day 13.
7420 words were written during those 24 hours.
Here is the full breakdown of each day.
And I know what you’re thinking. How do you still have fingers to type?
The only explanation i have for you is that I was fueled by those daunting two words. I could see the end approaching. I had outlined every last chapter, so I knew what was coming. I had to stop though for my brain was melting and my eyes were no longer able to take staring at my screen for so long.
Which is how we land on day 14, where I put in my last entry. My final word count was 41,071.
I know that the goal is 50k, but I wasn’t ever envisioning reaching that number. And to be honest, I’m fine with what I accomplished. Because that’s what it is: a major accomplishment.
I managed to write 41k words in just two weeks.
And now I have to tackle an ever greater task which involves tearing apart everything I wrote to make it sparkle. But that’s an entirely different post.
So here comes the advice: do NaNoWriMo if you ever get the chance.
It made me a better writer to say the least. Not only does it provide a challenging atmosphere where you’re motivated by the most heartwarming community of writers just like you, but it is also entirely up to you how you go about it.
During my time, I interacted with all kinds of different writers, each with their own special way of approaching NaNo. What I learned from these amazing writers is that there isn’t one right way of doing it. There are the TurtleWriters, who openly acknowledge they cannot crank out more than the daily target. The Planners, who meticulously outline every possible thing and stick to it. The ones who reach 50k in 30 days and the ones who don’t.
Some even dropped out because the commitment can be overwhelming, especially if you have outside obligations that are beyond your control.
And any of these options are plausible. And all are expected.
But even just getting the small taste of the NaNo experience was eye opening. The writers who dedicate all of their available time to do what they’re passionate about is inspiring. To be able to watch your “buddy’s” word counts grow each day, and offer words of encouragement to keep motivation is what contributed to me exceeding the daily word count goal.
So, Ii I had to pick one word to describe my 2017 “National November Writing Month” experience it would be triumph.
No, I didn’t complete 30 days of writing. I didn’t even reach 50,000 words.
But I was close.
As a result, I was able to get to the end of my manuscript. Which to me, was the best thing that could’ve come of all of this.
So, if you have a WIP and you’re hesitant to join because you don’t have a fresh new project to write, don’t let that stop you. Instead, let it push you forward to work towards a different kind of ending.