NaNoWriMo 2019

Hey All,

I’ve recently participated, and completed, the NaNoWriMo that you all have probably seen pop up around this time of year. It stands for “National Novel Write Month” and what is is really boils down to is just trying to write 50,000 words of a new project during the month of November.

I’ll preface this by saying that I’m not a real writer, but here are some things that helped me get through it, and some things that I learned on the way.

Writing

Until this past month, I really always just wondered what it would be like to be a writer. It has sort of a romantic feeling to it. To be creating these awesome things that I love to enjoy myself. I have bought and read many books on writing. I’ve watched tons and tons of interviews, classes, speeches, and workshops. If you know me, you already know I’m going to bring up how I’ve seen every interview of Brandon Sanderson (This guy always with the Brando Sando – wtf?!),ย  and watched all his youtube class videos. I’ve done all this, but I’ve never actually put it to use. It’s like preparing for a marathon that I never intended to run.

I went to cons, I’ve talked to authors, I’ve talked to other bloggers and writers to get advice, and the advice was always “You just have to sit down and do it.” I never really followed that advice though. I don’t know why, but it’s true. It never happens until you make it happen.

What Has Helped Me

NaNoPlotGraph
To the top!

Outlining

Seriously, I would not have even come close to hitting the word count everyday if I didn’t do the NaNoPrep material. Once I decided that I was going to try to do it this year, I jumped into the prep material. It really helped organize some of my thoughts and plans before I even started to write. If I didn’t do this, I would have no clue what the hell I was doing. I feel that way still, but that’s because I learned that I am a hardcore outliner. I need to know what I am going to write, how it’s going to fit together, and have some research done before I can even start writing a scene.

Snowflake

If you have looked into writing, you’ve probably heard about the snowflake method. It’s sometime that I kept in the back of my head, but I didn’t really utilize it. Not until I realized that I was doing it without thinking about it. Each scene I started to write ended up as one sentence, one idea. Sometimes it would stay one sentence for weeks, but most of the time, I would just go back into each scene and build it out a bit more. Most of my time was spent just going back between scenes and building, building more, building even more, and then connecting them. The outlining really helped me get the initial scene ideas, and the snowflake method really helped me flesh them out.

Competition

Not against anyone else, but against myself. It was a goal. I need to make sure that I do this, or I am a failure. That might sound a bit harsh, but this is how I usually think about things. Of course it has probably led to god knows how many mental health issues, but I’ve always believed a job is not worth doing unless you plan to try your best. You have a daily goal, and it needs to be hit. Somedays you might not make it, and that’s ok, but you better be damn sure you slap yourself the next day and make up for it.

Scrivener

This is not an advertisement or anything like that, but for someone as anal as me, it has helped a lot in trying to stay organized. I write all over the place. Nothing is in order. Scenes are at random times and random places. It’s just a big mess everywhere. It’s really nice to have a program that you can organize things into little files though. I’ve been using the Levianthan Worldbuilding template, and it has really helped a lot. It also really helps that for job, I organize sort of similarry with outlook. All of my emails have a special folder depending on what it is, status, etc. In outlook you can flag, color code, and do all of these other things. That’s how I project manage most of my day-to-day aspects of my job, so taking that and moving it into scrivener has worked really well for me. Try it out if that sounds like you.

NaNoDailyWordBar

A few stumbles. A few good days.ย 

Time

Time was always my biggest constraint when it came to writing. My day is always packed full of the normal life things. My job requires a ton of my time, and pretty much for me to be always thinking about it. Most of this year I worked 6 days a week and long days. The days start when I wake up, and end when I go to sleep with my job. That’s the beauty of working in a digital world now. The email I answer at 10pm is one less than I have to do at 9am the next. The strategy I come up with at 7am saves time than trying to come up with it at 9am when the next strategy already needs to be solved.

It’s not easy trying to hit 50k, although it was completely my choice,ย  it felt like a part time job… and that’s because it was. I’m an idiot, it takes me a long time to figure out what to write. I spent on average 3 hours a day trying to get the words down and keep the outline going enough to cover the next day. With the job I described, the writing added another 21 hours of work per week. Couple that with all of the chores, exercise, life events, trying to keep up on social media, keep relationships healthy, and hell even this blog. It burns you out quick. At the height of it all, I was telling people I only got a few minutes to myself everyday. I was and I wasn’t. We choose what to do with our time, but I have a weird way of making sure mine is somewhat productive. (Even when it’s not!)

NaNoDailyWord.PNG
I am very consistent…for 15 days…

You Just Need To Try

You never know if you will be able to do something until you try.

For me, this novel might never be finished. It might always be a huge clusterfuck mess that will never be put in the correct order. Even if it does, it might never go past that. It was still fun to do! Plus: I will be 100% better prepared for the next project!

If you’ve ever thought about you really just have to start. I waited years to start. Please don’t make the same mistakes as me.


 

LIFE OF CHAZ (1)

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54 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo 2019

  1. You did it! Congrats for that…
    I just completed NaNo for the second time and it was different than the first.
    Last time, I had time off and powered through my 50k in 13 days.
    This time around, my experience was much more like yours, packing my writing into my free time while working 6-7 day weeks.
    Both victories were sweet, though. Now, on to the edits!
    Good job!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Congratulations on completing NaNoWriMo!
    I really wanted to participate this year but sadly couldn’t. But this post has really helped put some things into perspective when it comes to writing. When I had tried in the past I always felt like I was failing compared to those who were well above the daily suggested, and in the end would give up two weeks in.
    Thank you for the advice & mad props to you for this!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Why wait until November, Rae? Nano also has virtual camps. There’s one in April. You can choose your own word count in the camps, or you can decide on a number of hours to put in. And there are cabins where you can get support and inspiration from fellow writers.
      Just search for Camp Nanowrimo.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations!!! I ended up being about 12,000 words short this year. I used a free trial of Scrivener one year and it was great when you’re writing jumps around. It’s much harder to keep track of that using Word.

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  4. Very cool read. I haven’t written in months. This challenge didn’t change that. I haven’t blogged, or scribbled or outlined. I havent had any ideas or inspiration. Not sure why. Maybe because my reading is down. I seem busier than ever, so I feel your pain. Good on you for knocking it out!

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  5. Great that you did that and succeeded. I failed this year. Too many things cropped up to stop me writing.
    You should not leave it, now you’ve got that far. Go a bit slower and finish that novel. Then edit it thoroughly–a step many first time writers miss out, at least it seems so if the errors and typos are anything to go by.
    If you can afford it, a professional edit should be done, too.
    Good luck with it. I hope you finish and we see it on sale.

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  6. Your approach to NaNo sounds a lot like mine. Congratulations on hitting 50K – and on taking that first big step toward making your writing dreams come true. Oh, and BTW – yes, you are a real writer. If you write, you’re a writer.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi! I just want to say that your post was very inspiring and thought evoking. This post was so informative and well written! I was wondering if you could checkout my new piece on ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE & JOBS OF THE PAST!And I would really appreciate it if you could comment some feedback to improve the writing style. Looking forward to hearing from you. โ€“ Kiran

    https://kiranninprogress.wordpress.com/2019/12/04/artificial-intelligence-jobs-of-the-past/

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Just read your post and enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing. When I decided to do NaNoWriMo this year no one told me it was supposed to be a goal of 50,000 or more words. I didn’t find out about it until the middle of the month. My goal was 5000 words. But with a vacation trip and Thanksgiving in the middle I only ended up with half of my goal.

    BTW, the way I’ve heard it your blogging counts in the NaNo’s word count. So maybe I did a little better than I thought. Who knows. But it was fun. Keep up the good work.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I tried NaNoWriMo in the beginning. It was my (totally subjective) experience, that the vast majority of NaNoWriMo’s were girls writing fantasy. However you slice it, I don’t fall into this category. Felt a bit at odds and out of place. Just my own experience, though.

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    1. “girls writing fantasy,” seems that way to me too. But, writing a novel was on my ‘Bucket List’ so I gave it a try. Took me three tries before I finally nailed it. The word count tools were super helpful in keeping me on track. Not sure I have the gumption to try it again though.

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  10. You’ll know you’re a writer when it takes over your life. It doesn’t mean you won’t have a life, it’s just that you’ll be spending at least every moment that you possibly can writing that poem, story, novel, memoire, etc. When I worked full time at my chosen profession of 30 years I wrote poems on the fly which became my first published book of poetry. I write everything, in truth, so it was just a matter of time. I can’t imagine not writing and when I haven’t written something on a particular day I feel withdrawal just like an addict. Writers don’t just write- they create worlds, visions and dreams with words on paper or media. We’re a special breed and no one can pretend to be us. That’s called typing… LOL
    The Castle Lady

    Liked by 1 person

  11. This was a great blog. I know a few friends here in New Zealand who have also undertaken the NanoWri November challenge. You’ve outlined your process very well, and I think anyone who wished to join this year would benefit from your views. Cheers, Vivienne

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thanks for the post. I’ve found it hard to stay motivated when it comes to writing. I started a blog a few years ago but have not maintained it well. I appreciate you sharing your experience and am impressed with the 30-day challenge that you completed. Best of luck going forward.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Excellent post, and as advertised, well organized (:
    My thought, which is in no way a reflection on your work, since I haven’t read it, is that in order to hit a certain word count writers aren’t edited enough. I oftentimes read books that could have benefited from stricter editing, i.e, cutting excess out. For me, it’s always better when a book is too short than when it’s too long.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are 100% right. I definitely wrote scenes that did not need to be there just to hit the word count and justified it by saying “I’ll fix it later.” I probably created a bigger mess because of it too.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I did this a couple of years ago to give myself a kick in the butt to write my first novel and it worked out well, but I HATE editing…with a passion.

    That being said, Scrivener is great as a way to capture plotting devices, pictures, character histories, outlining, vision boarding, assigning POVs to each page, etc. And yeah…I’m a plotter. I have plenty of friends who are “pantsers” and I don’t know how they do it. It would drive me insane.

    Liked by 1 person

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