Happy December everyone! 22 days til Christmas and 28 days til the New Year…2016 has flown by!
But before we focus on what’s left of the year, let’s talk about the past month. It was rough, there was mental exhaustion, and a lot of words were written. But when the dust settled at the stroke of midnight on November 30th, Mez and I both had been declared winners of NaNoWriMo!!
In other words…WE EACH WROTE OVER 50,000 WORDS IN A MONTH!!
I’m still a bit in awe. Don’t get me wrong, neither of us wrote 1,667 words every day. Both of us stayed true to our procrastinating natures and wrote most of it last minute.
On November 28th, I had 26,000 words. I wrote the other 24k in the last two days. I turned in my 50,018 words at 10:00 on the 30th. It may have been last minute, but I did it and I’m still incredibly surprised that I did.
Here are some things I learned during my first NaNoWriMo.
How Fast I Can Really Write
I have a confession. I have a very bad habit of watching a movie or tv show while I write. Always something I’ve seen before, but still playing in the background. I knew I could write faster without the distraction, but I didn’t realize how much faster. When I really had to buckle down to finish on time, I found I could write literally twice as many words when I focused only on writing. So I’m going to work on breaking this horrid habit! (As I watch a movie as I write this 🙂
To Do More Research
This is funny because one of Mez’s was not to research so much! But I found myself having to summarize a few scenes because I didn’t have the knowledge I needed. Normally, I would have just stopped and done the research, but I was in a bit of a time crunch. So I made do with what I had, but I have lots of comments saying ‘research this.’
To Turn Off Spell Check, Grammar Check, and the Word Count
I think I’m going to do this for every first draft from now on. It really did help. I had no idea how much I’ve been trained that when I see the red or green scriggly lines, I MUST go back and fix it. So while I am now a little afraid to turn the checks back on, I could write faster and be more focused on what I was writing than on that word I misspelled three words ago. As far as the word count goes, I kept focusing on it too much. It was much better to turn it off and be pleasantly surprised after my writing session. Otherwise, the word count seemed to rise very slowly and discouraged me.
To Set A Timer
This was perhaps the hardest thing to force myself to do. I set a timer, 2-3 hours and did not let myself get up from my desk for that time. I didn’t check my phone or move off the focus view of my document. The only reason I let myself get up was if my dog decided she had to go out (an interruption I was usually grateful for). Considering I want to be a published writer, this was ridiculously hard to do, but something I’m going to do from now on.
To Have People Holding Me Accountable
The only way I got the 50k done was through the fact I had told all of you I was going to do it, Mez’s encouragement (and the fact she finished first…I’m slightly competitive and determined to also finish since she did 🙂 and my friend, Peach, holding a sign saying ‘You have a novel to write’ (or something to that effect) when I really wanted to watch Criminal Minds and yet at six hours to write 5,000 words. The guilt trip worked and I wrote. Thanks, everyone!
And the one thing I learned that I wish I hadn’t…
I Can Write 12,000 Words in a Day
Why is this a bad thing? Because I can just see myself next year. “Oh, I wrote 12,000 words a day. I won’t have to start writing until the last week and will still finish on time. No rush!” This is just how my mind works. By next November, I will have forgotten how hard it was, how tiring, how stressful, and will only remember I did it. I really hope I can fight against my procrastination habit next year.
I hope all of you had a productive November, whether you won NaNoWriMo or not, whether you even participated or not. Any words written, pages revised, or agents queried is progress, so don’t be discouraged if you didn’t get as much done was you planned. And if you did, hey, give yourself a treat!
I bought myself a bag of Cadbury Mini Eggs.
I love them.
That was my November! Next is to revise the mess I’m trying to pass off as a first draft, and I also hope to complete the first draft of Fey (you know, the novel I was supposed to have finished a second draft of before I went to see Mez in England back in September).