This year I have been on track with my word count every day, which is a very odd thing for me the first week of the challenge. Let's go on a walk down memory lane, shall we?
- 2013: Started off with one novel idea, changed my mind a quarter of the way into the challenge (in addition to starting a week late since I had only recently discovered NaNoWriMo) because I had had another great novel idea come to me. I was super pumped to write it and did pretty much nothing else the entire month of November. Needless to say, this was the only year I actually finished the challenge. (An easy college semester and holing myself up in my room days on end definitely helped with that.)
- 2014: Second time around, I decided to try to write a sequel to another novel I had just finished. I was having trouble transitioning from my first novel to the sequel, didn't have things figured out, and quit on Day 24 with 37,887 words to my name. It couldn't get any worse.
- 2015: Last year I stupidly tried to do the same thing as the previous year. And I still wasn't ready to write the sequel, still didn't have things figured out with the plot, and yes, things can get worse. This time I quit on Day 6 at 19,599 words... Yeah.......
So wherever you are in your NaNoWriMo journey, don't get discouraged and keep pressing on. Some years will be flops, others will be successes! Sometimes you just have to play around with things and see what will give you your best shot at making it to those 50,000 words.
For me, I think there are four things that I can attribute to this year's "on track" phenomenon:
- I had a novel idea that I was excited about. The problem with the past two years is I was drained from writing the first book still. I needed something fresh and new if I was going to crank out 50,000 words in one month. 2016 and 2013 both have that excitement in common and I find myself hardly able to wait until I can get home to write some more.
- I had a light bulb moment. My novel idea for this year came to me with every part already present - beginning, middle, and end - and I had a fully realized story where I knew exactly how things would play out. I knew characters, plot, setting, and voice. It was all there right from the start. Whereas during the other years (except for the first), I embarked on NaNoWriMo just hoping I would figure it out as I went. So I guess I've learned something about myself: I'm not a discovery writer when it comes to creating the bones of my stories. The details and scenes? Now that is where my discovery writing kicks in.
- I planned. Because I stumbled upon my novel idea before November, I had plenty of time to prepare. I used that time to do my research, get to know my characters, develop my setting, and most importantly: outline. Now that it is time to write, I can sit back and do just that.
- I joined a writing group. This is something completely new for me. In college I had my creative writing classes where we all shared our work, but I have never done anything like that outside of a school setting. My NaNoWriMo regional writing group is absolutely amazing. We meet up and do word sprints which have helped motivate me immensely. Plus, it is encouraging to see other writers who are in the same boat as me. If this is something that you haven't checked out yet, then I really encourage you to at least try it once. I am a shy person by nature and it took one of my friends to convince me to go. Now tonight, I am attending a Write All Night event where we are going to write until 11:30 pm. Word sprints with other people to keep you accountable will do wonders for your writing. (If you want to find your region's writing group, log on to your NaNoWriMo account and select the "Regions" tab at the top. Then hit "Find a Region" and you'll be good to go!)
That's all for today! Check back here on Sunday to read my play by play about this year's first week of NaNoWriMo, shenanigans and all.
How is your NaNoWriMo experience so far? Is this year different than past years?
Good luck and happy writing!