About a month ago, I announced that I was going to participate in NaNoWriMo for the first time. As National Novel Writing Month draws to a close (and I come near to completing a 50,000 word novel), I look back on the experience to see what I have learned.
The first week of NaNoWriMo feels like flying for most participants. All my initial fears of writing 2,000 words a day disappeared. Doing so only took a couple of hours a day, and I enjoyed the activity immensely. Dialogue flowed, my first few chapters drew readers in, and I knew that I was on my way to a great novel.
Unfortunately, most NaNoWriMo participants also soon discover that week 2 is where everything goes downhill. I experienced the fears and insecurities that all writers have to deal with. My story seemed flat, one of my main characters suddenly had a different personality, and I felt like the most pathetic writer in the world. In hopes of jumpstarting inspiration, I took a few days off. After all, it would be easy to catch up on them later . . .
The first half of this week involved skipping too many days. I didn’t know what to write, especially when I realized that I didn’t know what was supposed to happen between the middle and end of my story outline. I was stuck, but I knew that I couldn’t skip any more days. So I grabbed my laptop, and wrote the parts of my story that I knew.
To my relief, once I regained the courage to write again, I discovered what would happen in the missing pieces of the story. Soon, I was in the final smackdown of my novel. After implementing the denouement, I finally type the satisfying words, “The End.”
The only problem was that I was 9,000 words too short.
Writing a 4,100 word novel is not how one wins NaNoWriMo, and I was determined to win if it was the last thing I did. Luckily, after skimming over my story, I realized that there were a lot of plot holes. I started to write several needed scenes and watched as my word count increased.
I will hopefully have a completed 50,000 word novel by the end of tomorrow (keep an eye on my Facebook and Twitter accounts to see if I made it). But I suppose the real question right now is if I will do NaNoWriMo again. I’m not sure, actually. It was a great opportunity to get me to write almost every day, but I think I prefer writing a chapter and then editing it thoroughly (because I like working on small chunks at a time). However, who knows what my future holds. I might be furiously typing 50,000 words next year.