This is 10 days late, but I did want to still take the time to talk about my experience with Nanowrimo this year. First and foremost, I want to congratulate everyone who participated –whether you won or not, it’s still a huge success that you took part in this event and challenged yourself.
For me personally, this was my first time being able to seriously dedicate 100% to Nanowrimo since 2014 (the last time I reached the 50k mark). Last year I did try to participate, but I only made it about 5k, and I think that was because Clara and Ezra had just released and required my full attention.
This year I was reminded how truly challenging Nanowrimo is. I mean, 50k in 30 days is no joke. Now if you’re a speedy writer (especially with first drafts) maybe that’s not the case, but for someone like me who is very slow when it comes to first drafts (and just writing in general) those 30 days felt like half that.
Nanowrimo 2019 Final Thoughts:
- pick a story you’re happy with. Don’t worry about other people reading it, don’t worry about if this is something you’ll ever publish, etc… Write what you want to write. Period. This seems obvious, but I’ve had years where I was trying so hard to write the next book I wanted to publish that it actually hindered my performance.
- Accountability apps are your friends. I’ve talked a lot about “Wordly” on here, so I’ll try not to repeat myself too much with that recommendation, but it’s honestly the only word count tracking app I use these days. For writers with Android (because I found out Wordly is not made for Android users yet *sad face*), my suggestion would be an app called “Word Keeper.”
- I also discovered a new app called “Forest.” This is another app I really want to do a separate post (or maybe even a video?) about because it’s just such a great app if you’re a writer, but I used this app a lot during Nanowrimo –and am still using it this month while editing Clara and Daphne. It’s great for holding you accountable –especially when you’re on a deadline
- Don’t let doubt win. I can’t tell you how many times this year and in previous years I doubted myself, I let my insecurities ruin the story I was writing, and hence it also ruined my productivity. You can do this, and even if you didn’t win this year, you still did something outside your comfort zone, and for that you deserve recognition
- Don’t make Nanowrimo all about winning. This year I went in with one purpose: to write a story I had been wanting to write for a long time. Because if not now, when? I saw so many people talking about how they were finally writing a story, finally making progress on something they were passionate about –and at the end of this challenge that’s what really matters.
- Be willing to make sacrifices. Nanowrimo is pretty brutal, especially if you’re like me and aim for 500-1000 words on a good day. So suddenly be thrown into the chaos of writing over 1600 every day or catching up to get back on track can be a little daunting. Sometimes sacrifices have to be made, and that’s okay (as long as you’re not overworking yourself)
- Change up when, where, and how you write. Sometimes this makes all the difference. I went from on my laptop, to handwriting, to even typing up a chapter on my phone (something I rarely ever do). If something it’s working for you, or you’re getting frustrated, make a change and see how that works out for you.
- Nanowrimo is a great way to test out new ideas. For me, it was my chance to write a story I’ve been thinking about for a long time (and just couldn’t find the words for). It doesn’t really matter what you write as long as it’s important to you. Maybe it’s a backstory for that character you love, maybe it’s a genre you’ve never written before, maybe it’s an alternative ending (and aftermath) to a story you’ve already written. Regardless of if you hit 50k or not it gives you a good indication of what you have to work with, and how you feel about the project you’re working on. Is this something you would still want to work on after Nano is over?
- Nanowrimo isn’t for everyone, and that’s ok. I almost wish they would make it in any month other than November because end of the year is always so busy for me –plus there’s the holidays to factor in as well. I saw so many writers out there this November just writing, regardless of if they were doing it for Nanowrimo or working on their own projects. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to participate in Nano during a release month, shortly after moving, etc just because I was worried about missing out on something. Don’t worry –there’s always next year! And if it’s just not for you either way, that’s ok too –do what works best for you.
- Definitely plan your writing time. Near the end of Nano I was putting in so many extra hours to reach the 50k mark, and it was stressing me out. This was due to falling behind early at the start of the month and never taking the time earlier to catch up, which really hurt me near the end. It’s definitely not something I want to do again next year if I participate, so plan out your writing time the best you can. Set a goal for each day, and if you miss a day, definitely try to catch up as soon as possible –so it doesn’t come back to bite you at the end
Now if you’ve made it this far, thank you for taking the time to read through this. I still have a lot of thoughts on Nanowrimo, and one of my biggest regrets this year was not being able to update my website with daily or at least weekly updates on my progress. I honestly speak every free minute writing my novel, so unfortunately I never found the time to update you guys on here.
I also want to talk more about my Nanowrimo novel –which is still untitled– but I think I’ll save that for another post (since this one is already going longer than usual).
Overall I’m really happy I participated in Nano this year, but next year I definitely want to have a better plan (with my actual story and with my writing schedule). This year I was so unsure about whether I actually wanted to participate, and then when a story idea came to me I just jumped right in –no outline, no plotting, no characters names… nothing. It was chaotic and super disorganized. Definitely not my usual style.
Again I just want to remind you guys that the work you did in November is truly special. Even if it’s a hot mess, like my Nano project is currently, it’s still amazing that you took on this challenge. The writing community was especially supportive for Nanowrimo, and I saw so many people sharing their progress and cheering others on (from day one until the final hours).
I think we all have a lot to be proud of. We wrote our stories, and at the end of the day, that’s what really matters.
I hope December can be just as a successful and productive month –though, hopefully less hectic.
That’s all for now, guys! Let me know how you did in Nano in the comments, and please tell me about the stories you wrote.
Until next time, happy writing!