I finished the 50k word NaNoWriMo writing challenge yesterday, and here are my impressions of the experience:
This was a lot of work, but ultimately not as difficult as I expected it to be as long as I stayed on track with my daily word count goal (2k), and only missed the days that I knew in advance I would have to. I often could not begin writing until late in the evening, which was frustrating on many days when my energy was low, but usually doable. The better days were when I could find an hour or two to write earlier, when I had more energy. As long as I always pushed myself to write the 2,000 words at some point in the day, I found the goal to be challenging, but very possible.
I got a LOT of writing done in a much shorter time than I usually do, and learned a great deal about managing my time to fit in the writing without putting strain on my family and other responsibilities.
I felt the freedom to be descriptive. I usually tend to not overindulge in descriptions too much, at least at the beginning when I have a plot to drive, but I knew that I would need them in this draft to help me picture my world thoroughly and early in the process. The challenge will be deciding what to cut and what to keep in later drafts.
I am a little addicted to updating my word-count and checking my stats on the website. It’s a strangely satisfying motivator!
And of course, I experienced a highly satisfying sense of accomplishment as I watched my word count climb. 😊
The Less Positive:
I struggled with feeling like I was rushing the process in pursuit of my word count goal. I thought that I had prepared enough, but after a while I began to feel that, although my plot had an arc, my outline was not detailed enough. This usually doesn’t bother me when I’m writing at a slower pace, because I have the freedom to discover the subplots as I go, but it was difficult to find the time to focus on both plot evaluation and actual writing.
Additionally, I frequently felt that my characters were not where I wanted them to be, and it was probably from a lack of attention during my prep stage, and a sense of urgency to keep moving forward.
What Did I Learn?
I learned a lot about managing my time in order to meet my goal, and that I am capable of achieving a high word count quickly. In general, preparation is not my strong suit, so If I plan to move very swiftly through the first draft of a manuscript, I need to remember that there will be less time to plot along the way. A clearer picture in my mind beforehand will help the process immensely.
Would I Do it Again?
Yes! If I happen to be ready to begin another manuscript at the start of November, and manage to do some adequate preparation, I will definitely do it again. It was a great way to kick off a new manuscript. I am happy with where I am in the manuscript right now, and excited to keep going. The story is far from done – the draft is probably about 65% complete, but I plan on multiple revisions.
Now, I plan to slow down a bit and make sure I am satisfied with the direction of my plot and characters, and then continue on and hopefully keep up the momentum that began with NaNoWriMo.