I am a slacker. I didn’t finish NaNo. I didn’t come close. At a little over 5000 words, I failed NaNo spectacularly. However, I did not come out of this without any knowledge learned.
1. I should write based on daily time limits, not daily word counts. I know it is not stated anywhere in NaNo rules, but I was compelled to write as close to 1667 words per day as possible. On some days, this was either too small or too large. I think in the future I will write for an hour a day. Doesn’t matter if I churn out 1000 or 3000 words, as long as I keep it up at a consistent pace.
2. Following up on the previous point a bit, I need to develop a more consistent writing schedule. I hadn’t written much of anything for personal enjoyment in two years before this year’s NaNo started. If I’m gonna take writing more seriously (be it fiction or non-fiction), then I need to do it on a more consistent basis.
3. Outlines do not work for me. A week before NaNo, I began constructing this rough outline of a fantasy story. When I began writing, it soon became apparent this needed to be more intricate. My novel now deals with two more facets: a snarky college student’s critique of the fantasy story’s less valuable elements and a lady fawning over the story’s author. The novel is meant to comprise of the story, commentary on the story, and commentary on the story’s author. If I had stuck solely to my outline, I might have lost interest in further developing my characters.
4. Even now, I have a terrible problem with self-editing while writing as words come out of my head. But I’ve discovered one useful trick, typing in lower-case letters helps me prevent self-editing during the first draft. That way I can focus on getting out as much vomit-induced material as possible, so that I can stitch it together later.
5. Yarny is awesome as hell. I’ve been using this program for arranging bits of my novel that I’ve already written. You can move each “snippet” around in any order. This is very helpful for writers like me who would prefer writing scenes out of order and would like to organize them later.
So, yeah. All of these are small lessons learned, but I believe I’ve already learned a lot in this month, regardless of my laziness. For instance, there are fairly affordable options to self-publish these days: CreateSpace, Lulu, Smashwords. When I finish this novel of mine, I aim to publish it in SOME way.
I’m not going to participate in NaNo next year, simply because I’ve decided the most important thing for me to do is write consistently. As long as I can keep up a consistent schedule from now on, I will have succeeded in a far greater way than NaNo would have allowed. However, I plan on being a regular member at the NaNo forums. Writing so intensely in November may not be for me, but I’m not going to mock those who do love doing it. Different approaches work for different people and I would love to encourage those who love NaNo for all their different reasons.
If you wanna read whatever random stuff I write, I plan on starting up a blog named The Giga Box. Hope you got something out of this and hope you enjoyed NaNo.
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