Sunday, December 1, 2013

How I Won NaNoWriMo 2013

Somehow, NaNoWriMo seemed easier this year. Part of me can't believe I just wrote that, because it's completely ridiculous. This past month was by no means easy nor is writing 50000 words EVER easy. However, compared to last year, this November wasn’t quite as fingers-creaky-from-typing, need-coffee-desperately, HOW-CAN-I-POSSIBLY-DO-THIS?!?! I wasn't nearly as frantic and I wasn't plagued by doubt.

2012 was my first foray into NaNoWriMo. I remember thinking every day that there was no way I could do it. (I even wrote a post about struggling to commit for fear of failure.) However, this year when I sat down to write, the words came easier. They were less of a struggle. And there are three things I can attribute this to:

I Had a Plan
For NaNoWriMo, planning is a big part of the process. I have to admit I’m a plotter by nature, but I went a little further for this NaNoWriMo. I made an outline of the plot and set a word count goal for each of the three parts of my story and a daily word count goal (for the days I had time to write, which was most). Last year, I only had the first one. I did allow for spontaneity but the important thing was that when I was stuck, I had my outline, plans and goals to fall back on. They spurred me on.

I Made Writing a Habit (before November)
Starting in late summer, I began working on my work-in-progress (WIP). I wrote an average of 2000 words a week and did a lot of plotting/planning/characterization/mapping/etc. It wasn’t a lot, but it was practice. So when the time came to ramp up my word count from 2000 words a week to 2000 words a day, it was doable. I was ready.

I Knew I Could Do It
Because I’d already done it once before. Last year, I wasn’t convinced I could write 50000 words in 30 days. I’d never even come close, so when I managed to do it, I was ecstatic. However, this year, I knew I could do it because it would not be the first time. So it seemed easier. Or at least I had more confidence and there was less pressure. I knew it was not impossible.

So, yes, I’m a NaNoWriMo 2013 winner. Yay!

However, I haven’t forgotten what I wrote last week on the blog. The middle of my WIP still sags, but it’s there. I wrote it anyway. I didn’t want to stop for muddiness, sagginess or anything. So, I’ll be the first to admit that my story isn’t ready. It’s not even close. From the first sentence to the end, it needs editing. The middle needs an overhaul. This is the next task on my list.

But for a few days, I’m going to relish that I wrote through the muddiness. I’m going to savor that I’m a repeat NaNoWriMo winner. I have words. 50100 of them to be exact, which is more than I had on November 1st. I think that's the point of NaNoWriMo, not to have 50000 words at the end of the month, but to have more words than you had at the beginning.

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