So, it’s December and my first NaNoWriMo has come to an end in one mass blur of cold weather, festive celebrations, scribbled notes and a draft exceeding 50,000 words! I am surprised and amazed at this achievement – it’s something I’ve never even attempted before, and in all honesty, I wasn’t sure I could do it.
For me, NaNoWriMo was the push I needed to get my manuscript written. I had the story inside of me, and had been meaning to get it out for a while, but, (and I’m sure many people can relate,) life just kept on getting in the way. Between working on less creative projects, socialising and just getting on with day-to-day tasks, writing creatively, or ‘just for fun’ can be pushed to the wayside for me. NaNo resolved that issue, by giving me a daily target to meet.
For some, this target may prove unhelpful – the pressure of writing daily and matching a certain word count can be immense, and for one friend, led to feelings of guilt which caused her to quit early into the process. For me, however, having a daily goal of 1,667 words meant that I met 5ok by the end of the month, which was exactly what I wanted.
Sure, the manuscript is nowhere near perfect – bridges need to be established between key scenes, some sequences need fleshing out and some of it is just poorly written. But hey, I’ve got a manuscript to edit, and a pretty solid one, if I do say so myself! I’m excited to revisit my story with fresh eyes in the new year and set about reworking it.
So, would I recommend NaNoWriMo?
Of course. Although I understand that professional and established writers may see the process as a bit of a gimmick, and may anticipate a load of rubbish flooding the industry following NaNo, I believe writing is for everyone, and anyone should be allowed to join in the fun!
For serious writers who just need that push, NaNo is perfect. A huge part of it for me was the sense of community and support that came through signing up. I received invaluable advice and encouragement from a ‘Writing Buddy‘ overseas, and a whole host of useful insight by attending local ‘write-ins,’ which I would recommend to anyone participating.
My advice for ‘winning’ NaNoWriMo
Anyone can win, it’s as simple as completing your 50k by the end of November. Here’s some advice to reach that target, based on my own experience:
- Don’t look back!! It’s so much easier said than done, but trust me, going back to edit or tweak will stop you moving forward. Just keep writing, don’t fuss or delete anything – it can all wait until you’re done.
- Move on from boring bits – If you’re feeling stuck or bored with your writing, move on to scenes that excite you. Jump ahead to the middle of the next exciting scene, and worry about joining the dots afterwards.
- Write chronologically – I know that some people prefer to write random points throughout their story and bring it all together later, but I find it works best for me to write the story chronologically. That way, you can see things develop at a much more even pace.