Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Reflections on finishing NaNoWriMo 2015


FINAL WORD COUNT:
57,919

So, I just finished my first attempt at NaNoWriMo!

HIGHS:
  • Actually finishing 50k words in 30 days. I've toyed with the idea of writing a book for about two years now and when NaNoWriMo came around this year, it just kind of snuck up on me. (Meaning, I forgot all about it until Oct. 31st.) I signed up so last minute and I made no plans at all, which is completely unlike me. I didn't think I would accomplish it this first go around, but I am so proud of myself for actually finishing! 
  • Writing each night on 27 out of the 30 days. I am not very good at doing things a little at time, like doing a little each day. Having procrastination tendencies. I'm much more inclined to do things in bursts. However, 50k words is not really something I had time to do in bursts, so I had to force myself to write a little bit each night. Other than the time my family visited Disneyland this month, I wrote every night. It became a routine that I looked forward too. Even though it wasn't fantastic writing each night, I enjoyed having the quiet night to myself and my keyboard. 
  • Finally getting the story that's been in my head for years, out on paper... (or the screen). I've had this idea for the book I started this month for a long, long time. Probably since college, but it felt really, really good to finally put it to real words and onto the screen. I still have a lot of work to do, but a bad first draft is better than no first draft, right?
  • Remembering that I've always liked to write, even as a kid. It's been awhile, but it was during this month that I remembered that I used to write books when I was kid on my mom's typewriter. I hadn't thought about it in a long, long time. I also remembered that I wrote some fan-fiction (before it was called fan-fiction) back in high school on some books I read where I wanted the girl in the story to end up with a different guy. So, maybe it's something I actually like doing. (Who knew?) 
  • Feeling inspired by the thousands of people doing NaNoWriMo too! It was comforting to know be a part of a larger community of people doing the same thing alongside you. Twitter was a great way to connect with people. I wish I had more time to do write-ins, in person, but maybe that's something for future NaNoWriMos.
  • The encouragement from my friends, students, and loved ones. I told everyone that I was doing this NaNoWriMo thing because I knew the more people I told, the more people would hold me accountable to finishing and not giving up. It was also great to be able to talk about my book and bounce ideas off those I trust most. Lastly, my husband was my number one fan through this endeavor. 
  • The roller-coaster of writing. The first 20k came easy. 
LOWS:
  • The roller-coaster of writing. The next 20k was tough. Like I wanted to chuck my whole story out the window because I just hated it that much. I also took everything and messed it all up for the last 15k. I think that's probably why I went over 50k. 
  • Feeling all the feels. So, when I messed everything up in my story, it was after I was listening to sad music for three hours and then I gave myself a book hangover. It took me off guard how much I was invested in my characters after living with them for a month. 
  • Letting go of my perfectionistic tendencies. I am looking forward to editing this upcoming month. It was hard at first to not go back and fix everything, but after awhile, just plowing through and being okay with the crappy writing was quite liberating. Now I just have a much longer crappy first draft to deal with, but at least I didn't spend this month rewriting the same paragraph ten times. 
  • Being MIA from my family and my other interests. I'm pretty sure my husband is looking forward to having me go to bed at the same time as him for the first time in a month. Plus, I've spent every free moment at night to write, so I am also really looking forward to read, color, craft and watch some TV again. 
NEXT STEPS:
  • Edit, edit, edit... write, write, write... edit, edit, edit. I hope to spend some time editing this month and then developing my story further. Now that I'm 50k words in, I feel like I can't just leave it because I've invested a whole month into it. 
  • Read, read, read. I have craved reading so much this month because there were moments when I was so tapped for inspiration. My me-time is so limited since I have to very young children, so it was hard to do both. I am really looking forward to reading and leaning on some mentor texts for inspiration and ideas. My little journal of favorite quotes from books is in need of more quotes! 
  • Get over my withdrawal. I think I wrote this blog post because I didn't want to break my routine of writing each night. NaNoWriMo withdrawal is very real. Even though I know I can obviously still write as much as I want to, I am looking forward to having more balance in my life again. I can see why people do this challenge over and over again though. It's like running a race. Once you finish, now you want more... 
  • Next year's NaNoWriMo? I love that this challenge is in November because we get Veteran's Day off and a whole week at Thanksgiving. It finally starts to get cold in San Diego, and it's dark early. It's great for writing! 
Cheers to all the other NaNoWriMo winners! (And to those that didn't finish too, because any writing is better than no writing at all.) 

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