For a while, I was struggling to write creatively, and in October, a friend of mine suggested some writing tools which helped me start planning towards this year’s NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, which lands every November). This I believe was one of the things that lead me to win for the first time. I’ve won two Camp NaNoWriMo sessions, but those months, I could choose the goal, one I choose 30,000 and the other 25, 000 words. So I knew I could accomplish a certain amount already. The first NaNoWriMo in 2012, I went all the way to 37, 042 words, which was the longest amount I had on a project to date. This November, I stayed on target most of the month. If you kept up with my social media accounts, I was keeping you updated, and that also made me accountable. There were many that I talked to relating to my NaNoWriMo project progress as I was going on, and that brought motivation and inspiration to me. I appreciate everyone that gave me encouragement.
So what helped me win?
- Planning ahead: I created two plot embryos for my two main characters. There are printables if you need them, but I like creating them. I also recommend checking out all of Rachel Stephen’s writing videos, and her book, How to Build a Novel. I didn’t get a chance to completely fill them out before NaNoWriMo, but it ultimately worked out in my favor. I was able to finish the plot embryos as I was going along which gave me a chance to outline and brainstorm where I was going ahead, while giving myself room to be spontaneous. I had a premise, plot summary, and character names.
- Staying On Target: Writing to the daily goal for the day, so at least 1,667 words per day.
- Sprints with local writers group online: As much as possible we would chat on a Facebook message about our progress, but mostly to do timed sprints. About 15-15 minute writing sprints, and we would take breaks in between to get other things done, but most of all update how we did during sprints.
- Chatting with different writers: I used social media to give me a chance to not only talk to local writers, but also writer friends in other areas around the US and the world, who had different levels of experience and gave me useful advice.
- Using NaNoWriMo Inbox well: I wrote often to one of my NaNo buddies. It helped me tremendously to keep her updated on my progress, and her writing advice, and encouragement. She truly is SUPER. 😉
- Drawing inspiration: from published writers, people I admire, and favorite entertainment (music, tv shows (especially Supergirl), etc).
- Using NaNoWriMo resources and other writing resources whenever possible.
- Drinking a lot of tea and water, and staying as healthy as I could be.
- Scheduling my day so I can get what I need done, as well as write for NaNoWriMo.
- Letting everyone know: which brought understanding, and support when I needed it the most.
- Taking things a day at a time, and the progress pushes you forward too.
- Taking advantage of the time I had this year. I wasn’t too busy this year as I have been.
What have I learned?
I realized that I can do 50,000 words in a month. It’s about planning ahead, scheduling time, passion, and determination. It is possible, but you have to want to complete your goal. I found certain things that helped me, and I hoped to continue that forward to future writing projects. I also realized that if I do a bit each day with my writing, I can get more done that I could ever imagine. Plus it helps to think about publishing while you’re writing. You have to believe that the story is worth sharing with the world. It’s something you have to continue believing long after the first rough draft. At least that is what I’ve also learned from previous writing projects. I’ve never written this much on a project, so revision is a bit daunting for me. During and Post-NaNo, I’ve realized that a lot of what I know about revision still holds true for a larger project. Focusing on big picture first, and then smaller as I go on. As well as taking revision into sections, and focusing on what needs to be worked on, so it isn’t overwhelming. Even though I feel like my planning/outlining before and during NaNoWriMo really helped my first draft, structure wise. I’ll still need to make sure it still works. Plus this next draft will be more about bringing more detail as well.
What do I plan to do next?
There are many people that say that I need to hold off on revising, and take a bit of a break. It makes sense to look at my draft fresh, but at the same time, I know I’ll be even more busy next year. So I need to take advantage with the time I have this month. So I’m figuring, doing a bit of planning/scheduling for revision, and do a bit of revision, and continue that onto the year as I go along when I can. I want to keep researching and looking at resources to see how to better revise my project. I want to keep writing creatively, while working towards getting my teaching certification, and when I start teaching. I want to keep doing what worked well during NaNoWriMo, year around, and hopefully be successful with my writing.
Any suggestions, tips, and/or advice you might have? Please let me know. Thanks. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this. My upcoming blog posts will start focusing more on writing. Although I’ll still fangirl every once and awhile.