Now that the dust has settled on NaNoWriMo, I thought I'd fill you in on my thoughts and times during it.
50,000 words, in 30 days... that's the challenge of the National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short. This is something that happens every November, and is aimed more at indie authors than anyone else. Its ultimate goal is to get you in the habit of writing every day, and to get you further down the line on whatever work in progress that you are currently working on,
On the outside it doesn't seem that daunting, only 1667 (ish) words a day. You think to yourself 'that's easy enough', but when you dig into it, it's exhausting.
I've done NaNo before, four years ago to be exact, and at the time I was no where near as comfortable writing as what I am now. However, that being said, despite thinking about doing NaNo again in the past I have for some reason never gotten around to actually doing it. That was until this year. I saw all of the posts starting to creep up on it from the various writer groups that I follow, and the idea of doing it again intrigued me. The day before the 01st November, my girlfriend challenged me to stop talking about it, and actually take part in it. So I did.
The first few days were easy enough. I was on track, and even ahead of myself at one point. But when I got about a week in I started to struggle. Things came up which meant I was too busy to be able to write on a certain day. Then somedays you sit down to write and end up staring at the keyboard because nothing wants to come out of the brain at all. The days when things worked, my fingers danced across the keyboard, the words spilling out of me. Other days I wanted to smash my head against the laptop, and hope that something would fall out.
When I hit the half way mark I managed to be level with what I needed to be. I knew that I'd struggle going into the back half of the month, but you have to push yourself. NaNo makes you sit down and write, makes you want to get to that goal at the end. I've also got to say that the writing community is a wonderful thing. Although we are all trying to get our stories read by random people out there in the ether, we all stick together and encourage each other. Theres no bitterness for how someone else is doing, just praise and encouragement to keep on going, if I'm honest I don't know many other communities like that out there. This helps to keep you going.
As the back end of the month loomed I started to see people posting on social media that they'd finished, their 50,000 words was done and they were still going. When I looked at my word count I knew I still had a fair old way to go, but again it didn't stop me from congratulating those people, and from reading the encouragement that they were giving to the ones like me still going.
The last week was the hardest for me. Work was crazy busy, and I had loads of family things going on, all excuses I know, but as I've previously said, life gets in the way sometimes. I knew I was close enough to the end that I couldn't fail now. I went into the last day needing just over 4000 words, and pushed myself onwards, plugged myself into Spotify, and started to type. When the playlist that I was listening to stopped I looked at my word count... 50,698... I'd done it! I uploaded my words onto the website and was greeted by the fact that I was a winner. The relief I felt that I'd finished, and in time (just) was amazing. I gained my winners banners, and took to social media to show my pride of completing it. What I was met with was amazing comments and likes, some from people I've never met before, and never spoken to, but all of them congratulating me on my achievement!
The main thing for me is not that I won, not that I'd taken part, but that it helped push me to write 50,698 words that I didn't have on the 01st November!
If you took part in NaNoWriMo and either won or not, well done! Every one of you is a winner no matter how many words you wrote, and as I said they are words that you didn't have at the beginning of the month. On the other hand if you thought about doing it, but for some reason chose not to... I'd encourage you to give it a go. Because whatever happens your writing will be better off for it in the end.