Third Going on Forth (NaNoWriMo)

NaNoWriMo: the home front

I can’t help but compare my last year Nano experience to this one as they have been totally different. I think probably is because I’m also a different person and I’m in a different place in my life. To be honest, I think I have enjoyed this year way more.

I did get to experience the dread of week two which I had not experienced last year. I do remember thinking many times that I was not going to make it last time. I never remember thinking of quitting. This year I did…oh did I!

Now at least knowing the basics of NaNoWriMo and having taken the time to read their website, I’ve opened myself up closer to the actual experience. I’ve discovered that yes it’s about my plot and my characters and that dingbat word count, but the community part actually came alive for me.

Last year I did attend three write-ins and I know it helped. I got to meet people and have fun. This year I’ve immersed myself in the community. As of today I’ve attended four write-ins, but I’ve also been in the chat room every single night, keeping me connected, that has been the difference. Has that helped my novel, I honestly don’t know. I do know that it has helped me enjoy the process, vent frustrations and truly make new friends to whom I’ve already expressed how much I’m going to miss them after December 1st.

 Week three is now behind me and looking to Week four with mixed emotions. I’m excited about being able to submit the fruit of my labor, but it also means that NaNo would be over.

Reflections from Week 2

nanowrimo, day 16 goal
Image by paloetic (limited internet access) via Flickr

Last year when I did NaNoWriMo… I didn’t have a story to tell. I had somewhat of an outline, but the hardest part for me was to come through with those 50k words. I was excited but I just didn’t think I was going to be able to make it. I think my fear of not making it and definitely God’s help got me through each stage of the month and I don’t remember experiencing all the things that they say happen on week 2. I can’t say the same about this year.

First of all, after not finishing script frenzy back in April, I was really concerned about meeting word count. So I left the gates dashing out and giving it all. I thought this time it would be easier, not only have I been down this road before, but this time I have a story to tell. I was wrong!

Yes, I had a story to tell that was burning inside of me. I didn’t need outlines or chapters; all I needed was to get it all out in that paper. For the first week I wrote and wrote and by the end of week 1 I had over thirty thousand words and most of my story told. I realized that I had made an outline out of my novel. There were things that were not developed. The worst part, I got confident about my word count and I stopped writing for one single day. It has taken forever to get back on track even when I’m writing an average of 2k words a day right now. My story had died.

 By Tuesday of week two I was ready to call it quits. I didn’t tell anyone because I have been blessed with lots of friends who are praying and supporting me through this and I know it was going to let them down. I hated my novel, it totally absolutely royally sucked! Between Tuesday and Wednesday morning I took the time to go back and fill those empty holes that my speed writing had created. I got more word count, but I was still not satisfied with the product. I was so disappointed. Then the magic happened!

 Wednesday was the perfect day to quit. I had lost some of my work, I still don’t understand how. I lost my dinner by stumbling into one of my dog’s bones in the floor and I threw cranberry juice in my cream carpet and I was writing the worse novel ever. I’ve read of some people who hate their novels in week two and they want to delete it and start over. That was not my plan. I was done with the whole thing. I was packing my bags and going home. As I do every night, I went to our Nano chat room and there was something I had never done before, a word war that lasted an hour.  For those not Nano involved or knowledgeable, that means writing without stopping for an hour.  I have done tons of word wars before, but nothing longer than fifteen minutes and trust me your mind and your fingers want to explode. An hour? Are you kidding me? What the heck, I don’t think I have enough to write, but let’s go for it!

That was precisely the breakthrough I needed. My mind was forced to see the scenes from other angles. I found my plot, my novel was coming back to life and the story was getting better than ever. Those sucky parts can be dealt with during editing after the fact; they are not too bad to affect the content. So with new ideas, new discipline and fired up with what I’m writing I’m approaching week three, without the concern of word count as I’m already at 48.5k, this is the time to finish writing a great story!!