I learned of National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo as it is commonly known) a few years ago and I thought I try my hand at it this year. So this year was my first year at participating in Nanowrimo and I didn’t win. Yes, I am sad about it and yes I am disappointed. At the same time, I have learned a lot from this experience. I have really enjoyed the days when I have had writing sprees and I have felt the anguish of trying to write transition scenes.
For those that don’t know what NaNoWriMo is about, I will tell you. It is not a contest, the whole goal of NaNoWriMo is to write a novel (50,000 words) in one month. It takes place in November which means you have 30 days to finish your story. Sound crazy, yes. Impossible, no. If you go on tumblr and type in NaNoWriMo right now you will see lots of people have accomplished this.
However, I haven’t seen a lot of people posting about how they have failed at NaNoWriMo . I have a feeling that some aren’t talking about it cause they are either embarrassed and don’t want to draw attention to the fact they didn’t win. Well, I am okay with admitting my flaws and not being perfect.
What I have learned and experienced during NaNoWriMo:
- I can write a lot. Seriously I have written 16, 836 words total. I have never written that much on one story in my life, for me that was an accomplishment and I am very proud of myself.
- Characters really do argue with you. I have heard of this phenomenon before, but I had never experienced this until I began writing nanowrimo. Wow, that was a weird experience and I enjoyed it.
- Characters will appear out of nowhere. Seriously I had characters come into the story that weren’t part of the plan.
- Writing transition scenes are hard. Every scene can’t be filled with chaos and explosions. There are downtimes. Writing those scenes and keeping them interesting is really hard.
- It’s okay that I didn’t win. I still got to write. I had a great time writing and I learned what I need to do for next year.
Things I did to prepare for NaNoWriMo:
- I had all my writing materials.
-post it notes
-pens (all different colros)
- I had a plot ready.
- Old journals and writings in case I need to use some old ideas (characters, lines, quotes, descriptions etc.)
- I had a very brief outline ready.
- Some research material.
What I will do the next time for NaNoWriMo (and yes these options are allowed):
- I will research starting at least 2 months in advance (and or try to research in the summer before that way I won’t be distracted by college). This will help in case I run out of ideas.
- I will write out my character profiles 2 months in advance, that way I can learn everything I need to know about my character. I have found some great websites that have helped out me develop one of my many characters.
–Character Trait Chart
–Character Profile~very detailed
–Personality Type Portrait this is a great site to learn more about your characters personality and how they would typically act. Really interesting.
- I will write out a detailed outline a month before NaNoWriMo. I had a small outline, but it was not that detailed and I wish I had spent more time on it.
- Plan on working on projects, papers, and any other reading assignments schedules and try to get them done far ahead of the due date, that way when it comes to NaNoWriMo I am not bogged down by all the writing and reading I have to do for classes (life of an English major right here).
Since I have not reached the NaNoWriMo goal of writing 50,000 words in a month, I will be continuing it into this month. I will keep writing until this novel is finished. I will continue to post daily updates on my word count on my blog until I reach 50,00. Who knows maybe I will go over 50,00 words since I have another month to go. Hopefully before the New Year I will have a first draft to look over.
To all those that haven’t finished NaNoWrimo, you are not alone. Whether this is your first year or you have done this before and you didn’t win, it doesn’t matter. The fact that you began writing is important and an accomplishment in itself.
I am excited about continuing the story and finishing it. I hope you continue your story as well.