NaNoWriMo Update: 50,378 words!
I know this is a few days late, but I needed some time to recuperate and rest my weary fingers. (Literally, they were swollen after two intense days on the 29th and 30th.)
I've crossed the 50k finish line for the 2nd year in a row! (See this post to read about last year's experience: How Sweet it is: NaNoWriMo 2021 )
I actually finished with an hour to spare on the 30th. I'm usually rushing up right to the stroke of midnight to cross that 50k word threshold, but this year I wasn't. I did put in a late night on the 29th, staying up until about 2am, to put myself in a less hectic position for the 30th. I found myself on the morning of the 29th with about 8400 words left to write. While I've been in much worse positions before, I also had to work 9 hours both days. I wanted to set myself up for success on the 30th, and I'd come too far to not make it to 50k.
What was the secret to my success?
I attribute a few things to successfully reaching 50k.
I had an absolutely amazing group of WriMos in my region this year. In case you missed it, I'm a Municipal Liaison (ML) for a region so I'm responsible for organizing events and motivating people, etc. My region is a virtual "elsewhere" region that spans the entire state of Tennessee. Some of the geographic regions based around cities (like Memphis and Chattanooga) didn't have an ML this year, so I also invited them into our region since we run mostly virtual events and rely on local libraries across the state or participants who are close to others but may not close to the MLs to host in-person events.
I had a blast! As an ML, some years it's more difficult for me to stay motivated because of all the other stuff I have to do to keep the region going. It's a lot easier when the WriMos are self-motivated and engaged. They get excited and have 10k word days and hit 50k in week 3 and it makes ME excited. They run sprints in Discord on their own, and I join in. I didn't schedule any actual times to sprint this year and just let it happen organically and it seemed to work out well. I feel like when I have scheduled things in the past it's been at times when no one can show up.
Accountability with the broader NaNoWriMo community
Participating with the broader online NaNoWriMo community has been great this year, too. Being a part of the One Hundred Hours of Writing (OHHOW) weekend on Twitch always yields great results for me. Participating in #Instawrimo on Instagram and sharing with other WriMos on Instagram this year as well has been super inspiring. I decided to make daily progress updates that I shared in many places (Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Hive) and sharing that daily post really helped me because I did NOT want to share something with a goose egg on it. One day, I was really sleepy and wanted to go to bed, but I forced myself to write 53 words before I went to sleep. I never once broke my daily writing habit in November, and it made a difference. I was rarely more than 5k-8k words behind. Often I'll fall to 10-15k behind by mid-month.
I also had some really great friends participating who are in other regions and chatting with them and talking about our projects and sprinting together made a huge difference for me! I love the wider NaNoWriMo community.
Honestly, I fell in love with my project. I had a bit of a kooky idea in October that I wanted to write a contemporary holiday romance. I say kooky because 1) There's no magic. No fantasy. No monsters. No action-packed government conspiracies. It's not at all what I typically write. 2) I don't care for Christmas. I know. I know. Bah Humbug and all that. But, it's my least favorite holiday. Mostly because years in retail and as a choir singer (sometimes starting Christmas music as early as September) has ruined it for me. But also because this holiday brings a lot of extra family stress and drama that I'd just rather not deal with. It's not my typical project. I've managed to maybe turn it into more of a "drama" with a holiday backdrop (there may be a kidnapping in the works...MWAHAHA), but it's still a holiday romance.
But I love it! And I love my characters. I feel like I've started to craft some very authentic, very late-millennial characters that are relatable and loveable. And I really can't wait to share them with you, hopefully next holiday season.
Also, choosing something with less world-building and moving parts was a good idea for my busy month.
My little Pantser heart hates to say this, but the plotting and organizing I did in October is literally the only thing that helped me make it through November and to 50k words. This November was really busy for me. On top of NaNoWriMo, I had my full time job, the bulk of my final Master's class, and two choir concerts with the rehearsals. We also went to Ohio one weekend. It may take me until the end of the year to recover the amount of sleep I lost, but it was a "go big or go home" month for me. And if I hadn't done that work beforehand, then I most certainly would not have known where my story was heading and been able to keep up. I didn't do an elaborate outline, but I had enough details worked out and a vague synopsis written to help me out when I hit a wall.
Not to get sappy or anything, but having a supportive partner is key for me. We met in 2019, and I wasn't an ML that year and didn't really get too far into NaNo that season. Maybe 20k words. But in 2020, I took an ML position again and things got more hectic. While he's not a writer, he is supportive of my writing, and that really makes all the difference. Him understanding "I have to go write" and giving me the space to do that and bringing me hot tea while I was writing and listening to me drone on about my story was the kind of gentle support I needed.
Well, 50k words didn't quite finish my novel draft. I think it will end up between 65k-75k when it's all said and done, which I feel like is a good length for a romance novel. I am going to try my best to write "The End" before Christmas, or at least before the end of the month. If I let the holiday pass and don't finish the story, I'm not going to want to keep writing a Christmas story in January. I'll be over thinking about the holidays at that point. That's my motivation to finish the original draft by Christmas. Next year, I want to focus on editing it and potentially querying it. If I don't find any takers before the end of the summer, I'll shift my focus to getting it ready for a holiday self-publication next year!
I will keep you updated with my progress. I plan to make a new template to continue sharing writing updates/excerpts. If you'd like to get a closer look at my NaNo project, see my last blog with an excerpt (Found at this link Woah! We're Halfway There! ) or visit my Instagram where I posted an excerpt every day! They can be found together in a Highlight. (@rosie.j.potter is my username)
Tell me about your NaNoWriMo!
If you participated in NaNoWriMo this year, how did it go? Did you reach your goals (50k or otherwise)? If you didn't, did you write in November?
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