Ahhh, it feels good to be back. I know I sort of disappeared off the face of the earth for a bit there, but a hiatus was needed and now I’m ready to get back into the swing of things!
And by the way (since it’s better late than never), Happy New Year, friends! I don’t know about you, but 2019 has me pretty excited. 🙂
Anyway, we’re not here to discuss the new year today. No, no, today we’re here to talk about my NaNoWriMo journey. This is a bit of a long one, so grab some popcorn and let’s get started!
(In case you are unaware, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month which takes place every November. During this month, thousands of writers from around the world commit themselves to write 50,000 words in 30 days – or in other words – a novel in a month.)
In 2015 I participated in NaNoWriMo as a part of the Young Writer’s Program – and I failed.
In 2016 I participated again – and won with my goal of 25K.
In 2017 I tried for the big 50K – and had to quit because I was so overwhelmed and busy.
This year I was more determined than ever to get 50K – a word count I had never reached before.
Throughout the entirety of November, I was sitting at my laptop writing whenever I could.
Some days I wasn’t feeling it and only wrote about seven words, but still I made sure to at least write something every. single. day.
Was it hard? Totally.
Worth it? Without a doubt.
The first few days I was staying ahead. Things were flowing beautifully, my chapters were averaging around 2.3K words, and I was writing over a thousand words each day. I was sure I could keep up my streak.
And then I slacked off for one day…
Then another day…
And before I knew it I had lost my streak and found myself thousands of words behind. It seemed like no matter how many words I’d write, I was still falling behind.
And the doubt began to creep in that I could even do this. Especially when my story started to get more confusing and I began to feel lost in my world, unsure of where to turn.
So finally I typed out a long crazy ramble, trying to figure out where my story needed to go (the problems of a pantser – AKA someone who doesn’t outline) and even after that I was still confused.
But the days were flying by and I knew that whether I knew where I was going or not, I needed to keep writing.
I participated in word sprints with fellow writers all day each day – something that kept me going no matter what. I’d have a slow one around 100 words in 15 minutes and then I’d have a great one with 600+ words the next 15 minutes.
I think my best sprint in November was 800+ words in 20 minutes – and I’m pretty sure I did that twice. (If only I could write that fast all the time!)
Before I knew it, the last weekend before NaNo ended had come. I had just a few days left and I realized I was over 10,000 words behind. Needless to say, I was stressed out.
Those last few days I wrote longer and harder than I ever had before. I was staying up till 2AM each night, drinking several cups of coffee a day, snacking, and I had practically glued myself to the couch. I was writing thousands of words each day – my personal best being over 9,000 words in less than 24 hours.
The last day of NaNoWriMo I started off with an overall word count of 41,325 words. I had to reach 50K by midnight.
Was I scared? Yep.
Did I doubt myself? Yep.
Did I reach my goal?
By the grace of God, the endless support and encouragement of family and friends, and a whole lot of persistence I managed to reach 50,134 words before 9PM on November 30th.
I’ll never forget that feeling – what it was like to see I had reached 50,000 words. I’d gone places with my story I hadn’t expected, experienced highs and lows, tears and frustrations, doubts, insanity, loss of sleep… but through it all I managed to push through and meet my goal – marking my longest written project in my 4 years of writing.
I hadn’t expected to cry if I won, but when I did… the tears just started pouring out and there was no holding them back. This was something I’d worked so incredibly hard on and the joy and satisfaction of my success was too great for me to express any other way.
Tears of joy, relief, satisfaction, surprise, pride… I just couldn’t believe it. And I still can’t.
NaNoWriMo was one of the hardest challenges I’d committed myself to and though it was painful and frustrating in so many ways, every bit of it was worth it in the end. And I can’t wait to do it again this year. <3
NaNoWriMo really is an amazing learning experience. This past November I learned:
1. I seem to work best without a plan.
2. Allowing my characters to take over the story and lead me where it needs to go is amazing.
3. I literally can not resist adding romance to a story.
4. I can write much faster than I thought I could.
5. I can be disciplined to write daily – even if it’s just a sentence.
6. Word sprints and coffee are lifesavers for a writer.
7. I can write while I’m sleeping. (Yes, this happened around 2AM one night. I woke up and realized I’d still been typing and things entered my story that didn’t even make sense.)
8. Even when I’m crazy exhausted and starting to lose my mind, I can still write coherently (even if I can’t speak coherently)
9.You don’t have to know what you’re writing, just write it. (you’re gonna rewrite it later anyway)
10. I can write a novel in 30 days.
Did you participate in NaNoWriMo? What was your word goal? What did you learn?
Bonus: How did you spend your Christmas and New Year?
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