How did I go?
Most days I stayed on track, but I often slipped behind by a day or so, so this year I was often playing catch-up. With NaNoWriMo ending on a Wednesday and with my health unpredictable at night time (I have a severe allergy to pepper, and sometimes you can’t be certain it’s not included in processed food even if you do read the ingredients) I ended up writing 3K on the Saturday, Sunday, and Monday before the Wednesday so I knew I would finish a couple of days early.
Did I Achieve My Goal?
Since my goal was to complete NaNo and knowing it wouldn’t be the whole book, yeah, I did achieve my goal.
Also, my goal was to write a love triangle where the girl is in love with one guy but having it off with another and boy, that was hard to navigate. It’s hard to define love against desire and mutual benefits. It’s hard tow rite why she’s a better match for one or the other, or perhaps she’s a better sexual match for one and romantic match for the other. Ever since on of my novels got rejected because the editor didn’t understand why my couple were in love despite me building a companionship and mutual interests and common backgrounds with them, I’ve been neurotic about “why does this character love this character? How do you show it? WHAT IS LOVE EVEN?” I don’t even know. How do I know I love my husband? I just do. How can you convince someone reading a book of the same thing?
What did I learn?
I learned that after a full day at work, a one and a half hour round trip driving to pick my husband up from work, and then sitting in a chair to write nearly 2000 words for a couple of hours is EXHAUSTING. Not just physically exhausting but mentally exhausting as well. I don’t know how authors with day jobs do it, to be honest. Sometimes I was nodding off at my computer at 10pm.
I learned that even writing 3-5K words per day is a huge mental challenge and those who write 10K a day consistently and claim it’s easy are either insane or don’t care about the quality of their work (or don’t have day jobs).
I learned that I work best when I break it up into 1000 word chunks and tackle those one at a time.
I learned that when I’m struggling, I update my word count every 200 words, but when it’s flowing I can write nearly 800 or so before I remember to update my word count.
I learned I really like updating my word count.
I learned I quite like being a planster – that’s the hip new word for people who both plot and ‘pants’ their novel (writing by the seat of their pants/unplanned). I had a vague summary and split it into the the required number of words I estimated I’d need for each act in a 3 act story, but I left a lot of it blind so a) I didn’t know what would happen and feel discouraged to write it and b) I had room to wriggle and play with the word count.
I actually don’t feel burned out this time. I feel quite eager to continue on and finish the book.
How’s the book going?
Like the last time I did NaNo, in 2014, the book’s not finished. I think I might need around 10 or even another 20K to wrap up it up. When I finished 2014’s book, I wrote an extra 13K. I’m not sure how much longer this book will need, as I only have a vague outline in my head and the final page already written.
I did have one particular scene I was really looking forward to writing, but due to my planster-ing, the book changed direction and I never got to write it.
Normally I hit a mental wall at about 10-15K and find it really hard to push through, but because I planned a lot of the early part of the novel I just rocketed past my usual wall laughing all the way. Also, there were no walls this time. Maybe because it’s a sequel?
What’s in store for the future?
I will always attempt NaNoWriMo unless there’s some kind of catastrophe in my life, so at the moment I’m planning on doing it next year. However, I want to write the third book in this trilogy before then, so I don’t know what next year’s novel will be.
Did you do NaNoWriMo this year? How did your writing go?