I reached the magical 50,000 words this morning and have to admit I felt a mixture of emotions when the final winner’s screen popped up in my browser, seconds after copying my manuscript into the word validator.
There was relief I’d finally completed the task I set out to do but also a great sense of achievement. I’d set myself a goal, a challenge if you like, and I had succeeded. Believe me there were a few times when I wanted to give up!
So what have I learnt from this years NaNoWriMo?
- Perserverance, undoubtedly! Just stick with what you tasked yourself to do despite those voices in your head. Keep your mindset positive and focus on getting those words onto your computer screen.
- Ensure you prepare. It’s not just what you do during the month, but also the days or weeks that precede that. I’m a planner and I need to know what I’m going to write about. This involves having a synopsis and some outline character profiles which I can develop as I write. Of course, you may be a pantser in which case you can forget all that!
- Plan your writing schedule! Decide when and where you’re going to write. Review your diary, there will be dates where you know you just won’t fit it in. Ensure your daily word count goals reflect this.
- Even as a planner, you will find a need to alter the direction of your storyline or review your cast of characters. I thought my synopsis was detailed but several inconsistencies were noticeable as I progressed my writing. Don’t worry too much about it as these can be sorted out in the revision process. There were also a couple of characters who I gave bigger roles to in the story. Other characters developed as the story progressed and I began to understand their motivations more clearly, if that makes sense?
- It’s only a first draft! Don’t beat yourself up over what appears to be garbage yo’re typing onto the screen. Some of it might be, but some of it won’t be. It’s a first draft, no one is going to read it unless you want them to. Some of it you’ll keep and a lot of it you’ll either omit or revise. You’ll even add more to it as you think of about it. That’s what the revision process is all about. Remember, without a first draft there is no revision process and no finished work!
- The second week was the hardest for me. I really felt I was wading through a quagmire and could of given up on more than one occassion. This goes back to my first point, perserverance. But it does get better!
- Is it a good method to write your first draft! It did work for me. The challenge of writing so many words was daunting but gave me the motivation to atually end up with something tangible at the end of the process. It is certainly a method I will try again!
- What happens now? For me, I’ll be putting the first draft aside. For how long, is up to the individual. I’ll take another look mine in the New Year with a view to starting an initial revision process, but I may leave it a little longer.
It’s been a worthwhile endeavour and I’ve achieved something at the end of it as well as learning a lot about myself in the process. Here’s to next year!