A New NaNoWriMo Experience

First, I want to start with a huge THANK YOU to everyone who left feedback on my first page post. It’s great to have lots of people look at an opening, and I’m always fascinated at how varied the opinions can be. I’ll take a closer look at all of the comments and incorporate the advice later this month. Once again, THANK YOU!

The reason I said later this month is because I am taking a well-earned writing break this week. And maybe next week. Possibly the whole month. I wrote a lot this year. Well, a lot for me. In October, I worked on three books at once: querying & tweaking one, revising another, and plotting a third. Oh, and freelancing in there somehow. By November, I was thrilled to begin NaNoWriMo so I could work on just one story for a whole month. It was dreamy.

This is what a first draft in a month looks like in glow-in-the-dark bug stickers:

NovCal

(1 bug = 500 words)

So here’s where the “new” NaNoWriMo part comes in. In the past, 50k words in a month felt HUGE. Don’t get me wrong, it is huge. It’s always a big deal. But this year it didn’t feel quite so huge. The main reason for that, I think, is because I worked toward it all year. Like a marathon runner, I trained. I set goals each month, each week, and each day, all year long. In the beginning, my goal was about 250 words per day. That’s one page a day. Completely doable. And when it wasn’t? I lowered my expectations to fifty words. Or five. Whatever it needed to be to keep the momentum rolling and feel like I was still working and moving toward a goal. (I’ll have more on goals soon, because it’s that time of year!)

So 250wds/day became 500, then 1000. Then I shifted to rewriting or revising a chapter a day. I developed habits: thirty focused minutes of writing each morning, afternoon, and evening. By the time November rolled around, 2k a day didn’t seem like much more than any other writing month.

One reason I’m a huge fan of NaNoWriMo is that whether or not you finish, you get words on pages. You build stamina and habits and momentum. While the timing seems awful with the holiday season breathing down your neck, it’s a great spot to be in at the end of the year. You can take all of those great habits and all of that training and roll it right over into your goals for the new year. BOOM! You’re ready to knock the next year’s socks off.

For me . . . it’s break time. Just a short break, I promise. I’ll tackle some smaller projects and probably write some blog posts, but I’m letting the big stuff rest for now. I’m enjoying my wins this year and dreaming up goals for next year.

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