My Reflections of NaNoWriMo

My first week of NaNoWriMo 2019

I’m not sure what I expected this week during the first week of NaNoWriMo. My only other experience with NaNo in 2015 was more harrowing. As an inexperienced writer who usually only made five-hundred words per day, trying to triple my output to make my NaNo goal wasn’t easy. I had to really push myself to write every day. It felt like a job, a burden and when I finished, just before Thanksgiving that year, I was too exhausted to even celebrate. This year is so much easier. As a more experienced writer who writes nearly every day and averaging about two-thousand words a day, the difference between this NaNo and the first are quite surprising.

I almost didn’t participate in NaNo this year. After the mental and physical exhaustion of my first experience, I wasn’t sure I wanted to put myself through that again. The first NaNo was to prove to myself I could write on a schedule and produce work. This NaNo I don’t feel I have to prove anything. It is just for fun and to get the rough draft of my next book done. I hope that through this NaNo, I can meet other writers, share stories, be a part of the community of writers. I hope to offer support and encouragement and learn new tricks and ideas about writing and publishing.

I have talked a lot about listening to YouTube videos, reading blogs and listening to webinars on writing. As a pantser, I have tried to find ways to prep my stories that don’t include the soul-sucking outlines and planning guides many of the plotters seem to enjoy. Truthfully, I thought I would enjoy that process as well and was surprised at how imprisoning it felt for me. BUT, but, I have learned that I can use plotting tools in my own way. A few years ago, I came to realize that my first draft was my outline. As a pantser, my process is different than a plotter’s, because I just sit down to write plotting and planning going back and adding necessary information and events to support my current idea as I draft. When I read back through my rough draft, I move things, delete, add, ask questions. Sometimes in the rough draft if I don’t know an answer, I might leave a question or suggestion and keep writing.

Before starting NaNo I tried writing an outline but in truth it was a quick draft of my story ideas, with a few questions, scene ideas and character notes. As I’m writing and I’m looking at the outline. I use about half of what I have, add a lot more, rearrange some and delete a few things. I am surprised at how much I did do in the outline.

So as I reflect on this first week of NaNoWriMo, I feel good about my progress. I don’t feel stressed, though I do have to push to find time to write daily. With writing as my second career, I still have to work my day job, take care of my husband, myself and the house. Thankfully my kids are grown, and my husband is fairly low maintenance. I have connected with other writers and hope to attend a write-in this week.

My advice to other NaNo participants. Do not make yourself crazy. Don’t let the fact that you only have 500, 5000, whatever your word count is, make you feel bad in anyway. This program isn’t designed to make you feel less than someone else or better than. It is not about killing yourself to get your wordcount. The purpose of NaNoWriMo is to CELEBRATE our love of writing and to make it a priority. If you want to be a published author, you have to have dedication. NaNo can teach you that. If you are struggling to finish a project, NaNo can encourage you to finish. If you just want to prove to yourself that you can have a career as a writer, then NaNo is a great exercise for the real world. Make NaNo be the experience, the exercise (or exorcise) you need it to be.

Words of Encouragement: Let your words flow, tell the story that is inside of you, someone needs to read it. Believe that you can do it and you will. Don’t try to make it pretty, just write it, you can work on pretty later. You cannot fix a blank page, but you can edit a bad page. Half the writing is in the editing.

Wishing you all a Happy NaNoWriMo!

2 thoughts on “My Reflections of NaNoWriMo

  1. Good for you! I love watching you become more experienced and I love that you share your journey.
    I started a novel, not a Jazzy book but a real story about people, I have, I think 1600 words….. I think that’s a great start for me. I won’t make 50,000 but at least I started. 🙂 Thanks for your words of encouragement and guidance.

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    1. I believe many of us get so hung up about trying to make the 50K goal that we forget to enjoy the process, the journey of writing. You are creating a new book. Is this your Stick Witch book? I can’t wait to read it. If you need a BETA or a blurb, I’d love to help out. I’m so excited for you!

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