Nanowrimo Experience

nanowrimo writing experience

This November I participated in Nanowrimo for the first time ever.

For those of you that don’t know or have never heard of Nanowrimo it stands for National Novel Writing Month. And every November people strive to reach the objective of writing 50 000 words by the end of the month. It’s a daunting task to say the least.

Unfortunately I failed, and I failed hard.

I thought I’d share my project, my experience being a newbie, what I learned, and what I can improve and work on to succeed at Nanowrimo next year.

My Project

I started fresh on an idea that had been in my head for a while. I went into Nano with barely a one page summary of what my story would be about. A simple premise for the story and the characters.

Having signed up at the last minute, there was little planning done on my part. I was no where close to the amount of planning and outlining that some participants do in October to prepare to write in November. I simply had a short summary and a few key scenes jotted down in bullet point form.

My project was originally a dark fantasy. I intended for it to explore some themes of life and death, as well as time. I went in with the intention of creating a serious story but the characters had a mind of their own and insisted on making it more a comedy, with a few dark twists thrown in.

Overall it will never see the light of day until it goes through extensive revision and rewriting.

Why I Failed

1.I didn’t have a real plan, or outline.

I was pantsing this year, basically just start writing an see what happened. That was an awful idea. Things were going well for my story until I was about 15, 000 words in, then I had no idea where my story was going.

One reason was I was getting lost in my own plots and subplots, which is horribly embarrassing. They would go astray and I would completely forget where I wanted them to go in the first place.

The second reason was that since I had no real outline I also didn’t have any clear cut scenes created. I had a few to work with in the beginning, but as I wrote I just continued adding scenes I though worked, or were interesting. That did not make for a cohesive story and I ended up losing inspiration and motivation to continue as the story went on.

The fix: A very clear fix for this one = write an outline for the plots and as many key scenes as possible before jumping in an writing the story.

2. I was inconsistent.

Despite having the best intentions to write like a mad person everyday I did not end up doing that.

I started off quite strong but when week three rolled around that’s where I really lost momentum. I didn’t write for about almost a week straight which is probably what pushed me into the danger zone, and then I just couldn’t write enough to make up for those lost days.

This one is entirely on me. I have a habit of getting bored with things and distracted by new ideas, and different projects that spring to mind – always while I’m supposed to be focusing on something else. Ideas are funny like that.

The fix: Don’t take any days off!! Even if I start feeling lazy and distracted.

3.I didn’t know my story.

I like to think that I have some good ideas occasionally. The only problem is I don’t know where to end it. I think this was the biggest and most honest reason for my failure. I didn’t know my own story that well, at least not well enough to write it yet. #I’mafraud

I knew the main idea of the story, but not it’s true direction. I didn’t know where it would end up when I started writing. I literally had no ending, so I was writing with no end in sight. That is motivation killing for real.

I knew the characters themselves, but I couldn’t accurately nail down where they were going or where they would end. How the characters interacted with each other was another main issue. This one actually got a bit better over time though, essentially I got to figure out their relationships a lot better while writing the scenes.

The fix: I will definitely be planning earlier next year, and taking the time to really mull over what the story will say, and where it will go. I will definitely be fleshing out the significant sections of the story before I start writing a single word, or picking names for every character and their ancestors- which is a wonderful and terrible habit, a lot of fun but takes you away from the actual plotting and writing.

So for next year…

I might have to force myself to write the ending first so I know where I need the story to end up.

Thanks for reading! And let me know about your own Nanowrimo experience.

First Novel Progress

Happy Tuesday!

I’m excited to say that I have been trying to write everyday for the past two weeks, (not NaNoWriMO) and I have been doing pretty well. I have written words everyday, save for a couple missed days. I’ve been doing about 1000 words a day, although sometimes it’s more like 3000 when I get on a roll, which really surprised me. Even better,  as of this morning I finally hit 25, 000 words on my first draft of a hope-to-be-novel (someday-maybe). And I’ll reach 30, 000 words for the entire month including other writing projects. SUper happy about that as my original goal was to get to 10, 000 words, but I surpassed that pretty fast, then I moved it to 25, 000 and achieved that as well! Who knew setting goals could be so helpful?? 🙂

Right now I’ve got the main plot of  the story, but there’s still little bits and pieces to add in, and some scenes that need a little beefing up.  As well as making the subplots a little more interesting, to add some spice. I haven’t actually told anyone what it is about yet. I’m still too scared that people will laugh, not to mention I already have ideas to change about a million and one things about the story itself.  I keep making notes on the side about what’s changed. Right now, if read from start to finish, it is a big confusing mess. The editing will be oh so much fun.

Still my  overall goal for the first draft is to get to about 40-50K, so quite a ways to go.  After that I swear  I’m not looking at it for like six months while I work on some other things. Hopefully that will be good practice for getting a full story done, which I honestly need because who knows if this story will ever see the light of day (it might be terrible- it kind of is right now). The only problem is deciding which of my many ideas to go with next! I literally have a list of about 10 stories that I want to write so I’ll have to figure it out at some point.

Other than that I’m  so happy I’m finally working on something that I have always wanted to do instead of putting it off for another time. Right now I’m questioning why it took me so long to get started in the first place, but I guess that’s one of the hardest things to do right: just get started!

Anyone else working on their first novel or other writing projects this month?