Monday, December 7, 2020

NaNoWriMo WrapUp

NaNoWriMo finished on Monday, and when I checked my word count at 11:59pm, I was at 50,018! 

I had heard of NaNoWriMo before and even tried it once when I was in college, but I only made it to about 14,000 words. I was super proud of myself for completing it this year, especially when Thanksgiving hit during the last week, and I thought I would come in 4000 words short. 

Like any exercise, NaNoWriMo is one of those things that you love once you finish, but the process includes a lot of aggravation. I could never keep this pace up year-round, but it was a fun challenge for the one month. 

I wanted to share a few things this experience taught me:

A Lot of Words:
I am fully capable of writing 50000 words in 30 days. In fact, I can write 50000 words in 24 days, but not continuously. That is not something that I thought I would do, and proving that I could do it was really satisfying. However, some days I wrote a lot of words that I knew weren't very good. However, because NaNo is about the word count and not editing, I left them on the page. Hopefully, I'll be able to salvage some parts of those passages.

Writing isn’t always fun:
Some days stunk. I didn’t feel like writing. I didn’t know what to write. I just wanted to watch TV, but I pushed myself to write. Even if I stopped before meeting my word goal, I wrote almost every day that I could. 

Time limits vs. Word limits: 
To write 50000 words in 30 days, you have to write about 1667 words a day or 11667 words a week. I wasn’t very good at that. I would stop early one day and feel like I had to spend all the next day catching up. I learned that I did my best when I had a 2-hour mostly-focused two-hour “writing shift.” Whether I wrote 600 words or 2000 words in that 2-hours, that was pretty much all I was good for. Thankfully, 2-hours a day isn’t that hard for me to find in my schedule, so I’m hopeful that I can continue writing as part of my everyday routine.

Weekends are for fun:
My least motivated days were Saturday and Sunday. They were also the days that I had the freest time, so you would think I’d be able to write most of my words those days. Sometimes I did, but what would have taken three hours to get done on Thursday took about five. I would have my word document open but be watching TikTok videos on my phone. Weekends should be about hanging out with friends and family or going to Target, not locking yourself in your room, and writing three pages of garbage.

Giving up other joys:
Because I was writing/trying to write during my free time at home, I gave up many other joys. Mostly reading and watching TV. Now, I’m sure most people can do with less TV in their lives, but some days I really wanted to watch a movie or show before bed, but I couldn’t because I had 2000 words to write. I would feel guilty if I spent my free time doing anything but writing, which took the enjoyment out of it. Obviously, that's not what I want, which is why I think time limits are more productive for me. 

Did you try NaNoWriMo? Did you reach your word count? Will you bring doing it again next year? 

© Juliann Guerra
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