I ended up completing my NaNo one day early with 50,202 words after a rough journey. The book is complete, but I don’t like the ending point as it’s a downer, so I plan to add another scene (or rather continue this scene for a little bit so that it can end on a moment of discovery rather than regret).
This was an extremely difficult NaNo for me for a variety of reasons, not all of them bad. I had a lot of real life things going on (mostly positive), I hadn’t had time to prepare, and the outline I thought was ready…wasn’t.
I’m a recovering perfectionist. I mostly don’t let myself get hung up on the specifics during NaNo anymore, but at the same time, I don’t put in sections that I know won’t survive the first edit. I don’t count any outlining or other world building I do during the month, and I don’t add anything that doesn’t belong in this story.
I considered putting the scene blurbs that I wrote during November in this year for the first time when I realized they totaled more than 4k, but that was when I was desperate. Because there’s one aspect of my perfectionism that I have been unable to kick–I can’t accept defeat.
I did not write every day of NaNo. Worse, there wasn’t a single full week where I wrote all seven days. Then, from the 10th to the 16th, I just didn’t write, putting myself hugely behind. I had a moment of: “You’re not going to make it this year,” that lasted an extra two days (one I wrote, one I didn’t), then I gave a half-effort for another day to get back on track at least. I’d reached a point where I had to knuckle down or give up.
Remember the flaw? A friend calls it my bulldog nature, but there’s many times where it helps me and this is one. After a year of insignificant writing, and never high count days, I put on my fighting gear and started hitting those high numbers no matter what.
It was crazy, exhilarating, and wonderful. I had to do high numbers plus outlining, but I found with a little outlining, the rest started to fall into place. Scene after scene, moment after moment. I outlined the ending at least 4 times as the scene order didn’t make sense, as the big moment would come to early, and ultimately as a new big moment inserted itself into the stream that had nothing to do with the planned big moment.
This was a new deal for me. I was writing a sequel, and more than that, I was writing book two of a series in which I know the whole story. Choosing a break point is difficult in the first place, but choosing one that leaves threads unresolved and maybe even ramps the tension up, well…
Ultimately, I’m both amazed and happy. This is why I do NaNo each year. No matter what, something happens to make me aware of something about myself.
So how did your NaNo go? Did you win? Did you learn something? And are you sucked in to the process?
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