So, as you may have noticed, I got tired of posting stats about a week in, when I decided that actually writing my novel was more important than blogging about it. I wish I had continued to keep track of how much beer and coffee went into the making of my first draft, but it is actually probably a terrifying amount that I’m better off not knowing.
Even without the stats and blogging-accountability that I started off with, however, I am pleased to announce that I have WON NaNoWriMo, for the first time ever! I am pleased as punch, no joke. I’ve been dancing in my chair since I hit my goal.
My story isn’t exactly finished, as my main character is currently standing in a half-built casino, but I’m still insanely proud of my accomplishment.
And to be honest, much of what I’ve written is pretty terrible. But I still wrote it, from nothing, and that is amazing to me. There are some bits that have some potential, and one day I might even let someone read it.
There’s definitely some things that I did differently this year that I think helped me win where I failed before, and I’ll be keeping this winning strategy in mind for next year, because I am totally insane enough to do participate again.
- I had a theme that i was aiming for. I didn’t know specifics, but I knew what was supposed to happen, and I had characters that I liked and knew things about. Sure, I lost track of the theme about 10,000 words in and haven’t been able to add it back in just yet, but having that idea in mind helped me determine the kinds of things that should be happening, and the theme can be added in the second draft. I went into it this year with a clearer vision of what I wanted to do than any other year.
- I had amazing support and friendly competition. I went to more write-ins this year and got to chat with more writers than past years. I met some super helpful people. The best thing for my wordcount though was NaNoCrawl; another writer and I got together on Sunday’s and spent the entire day happy hour hopping and writing (and were joined by other people one week). It was the best thing ever! Beer is great, and good company is great. Without all the fabulous people I had egging me on and the friendly competition, I probably would have gotten bored, discouraged, or both, and given up weeks ago like prior years. But not this time!
- In a similar vein, I also had a great online group to celebrate milestones with, and cheer on, and be cheered on by. For me, the amazing community was a big part of pulling me through. I don’t know if there were more enthusiastic people this year, or if I just made more effort to participate, but I am so glad I got to talk to so many people!
I have to admit there were times when I was seriously doubting my ability to make it, though. I had days at a time where I could not write at all, and seeing my little line drop further from the curve was scaring me! In fact, just on Saturday, my stats were giving me a panic attack, as I was waaaay behind from not writing for most of the Thanksgiving weekend. I found myself with less than a week to go and not much over halfway done. This is where NaNoCrawl saved my butt! Rich was way encouraging, and we buckled down and cranked out 10k words each that day! It was phenomenal, and was totally the boost I needed to finish.
Today I woke up with about 5k words left to write, and it took me all day to actually get to writing, but once I started, there was no stopping me, and I finished in record time. When I ended my scene, I checked my wordcount and was at 50,000 on the nose! I was really amused by that, and promptly started dancing.
And now, I need a break from my story! I need a break from thinking, really, but that’s not going to happen. I’m excited to do some revisions (and actually come up with some sort of ending), but I think I need a little distance and a renewed perspective to do these things, as I am well off any kind of path and need a plan to get back on it. I’m shocked that I’m still able to type at all!