Nanowrimo Retrospective

Today is going to be a bit of a special post. As this post goes up it will officially be Camp NaNoWriMo. For those who don’t know NaNoWriMo is where a bunch of writers decide to write a novel during a month. The main event is 50k words in November, the actual National Novel Writing Month, but camp offers different goals.

Now, in November of 2017 I took part in my fourth Nano, except it was my first time winning. As such, I was excited. I didn’t have a blog here at the time though so without further ado, here’s my tumblr post from the evening I hit the 50k word mark.


“NaNoWriMo 2017

So as of writing this, it is the night of November 19th 2017. For the first time earlier this evening, I completed 50k of writing within 30 days.

I did it in 19.

I still don’t know how. It’s a little unreal at the moment.

My first nanowrimo was back in 2014 where I joined a skype group with a bunch of friends and most of my interaction with Nano was through that. I couldn’t think of any other ideas and I decided to do it very last minute, so I decided to work on a story that had been in my head for 7 years prior, which was sitting at around 50k words already. I finished the plot at 80k and so I stopped there.

The next two Nano’s, neither novel broke 12k words.

Granted, both Novembers were kind of terrible for their own reasons, but I still didn’t do well regardless.

Before this Nanowrimo the idea of finishing a novel before word count verification day on the 20th was mind boggling, like, how on earth do you finish a novel that quickly? This year however due to certain circumstances I had a lot of extra free time, so I was bound and determined to do Nanowrimo, I had no excuses.

I was still wary of my ability to do such a thing, but I began regardless. I chose to do a story based on the world of my first nano novel set 100 years in the future, it had some characters I already knew from a short story I wrote the month before and I used some outlining tools for the first time to develop some of the new ones.

I took off like a rocket and had one of my best writing days… to that period. I had 4 days that were over 4k words during the course of Nanowrimo, including one that broke 5k words and one that was less than 100 words from 5k. I also had several over 3k, including today at around 3.5k.

Don’t get me wrong, I had my share of days under 1k, I’ve got a dud sitting there at zero. There were days where I got nothing done, days where my plot stalled outright and I did more thinking than writing. I went through every stage of Nanowrimo during this month.

But I did it.

I wrote the 50k words needed to win.

Let me get back to the community for a moment, because most of my experience with the community was either friends I already had or via twitter, which granted is a large amount of people. I didn’t really realize how large though, until I tweeted out my victory.

As of writing, it’s been about 4 hours since I tweeted out my victory picture, which was retweeted by nanocoach, nanowordsprints, and a few other accounts. Notifications are still coming in.

The response has been absolutely incredible. Y’all, the community is amazing. I’ve never not felt supported by the Nanowrimo community, I’ve participated and cheered people on while slogging through my own stuff for four years now. But the response to my first 50k has been astounding, far more than I expected, my notifications have exploded. Thank you.

Part of why I’m writing this is because I learned many things during this Nano. I’ve learned that I really can be a prolific writer, and that I can overcome any blockage my story throws at me, and I’ve learned many tools to help me. I’ve learned that the struggle is worth it the whole way through. Even though I’ve completed novels in the past (In way, way more than a month) the deadline of the 30th expedited everything about the novel writing process, including the slumps. Indeed, I was able this time to condense slumps into hours or a day instead of months where it ends up neglected.

And I learned how to do that, I learned more strategies for getting past those lumps and moving forward with a story. Sometimes relentlessly. For a while now I’ve known I could write at least decently well and while everything would obviously need copious edits, which I expect, I could reasonably write something and sound like I know what I’m doing.

My confidence for writing though has soared through the roof. I’ve gone from having no excuses this month to having no excuses ever. I need to get off my rear and work on getting my other novel published, because I can. (Incidentally the novel I finished during my first Nano).

There are so many wonderful people that have helped along the way. Friends who did nano alongside me, basically all of the people working on the nanowordsprints account, Faye Kirwin with #Storycrafter sessions. And that’s just for Nanowrimo.

In short, I feel kind of on top of the world right now, like the only one holding me back from writing more, and writing better, is myself. I’ve already got massive editing and writing plans for the next couple of months, gonna be a busy time.

I’m ready. This Nanowrimo showed me that I’m ready. Ok, I’m getting kind of giddy writing this and tears are forming in my eyes so maybe I should stop because I’m just rambling at this point and typing words but thank you all so much and this nanowrimo has been so amazing that I just had to write about it, good luck to everyone who hasn’t finished yet! You can still do it! That was a huge run on sentence a couple sentences back, wasn’t it? Oh well!”

Have you done Nanowrimo? What was your experience? Let me know down in the comments!


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