Thursday, 23 November 2017

My First Experience With NaNoWriMo

We're coming to the end of NaNoWriMo and I wanted to take some time to talk about my experience with it so far.  This is my first time participating, since I'm usually doing editing in October, November and December, and it's been a pleasant experience so far.

I was surprised to discover how effective it was to be able to enter my word count for each day.  It motivated me more than I expected, to the point that I decided to continue it with a daily graph which will appear on each weekly update and an overall progress graph to stay up on the blog.  The visual graph of total word count really kept me moving, although I wasn't a fan of the goal line (especially since I didn't get over it very often).  Even if I had a really good writing day, it was discouraging to see that I still hadn't made it over the official goal line.

I found the community to be very supportive with a lot of encouragement.  I wasn't in a position to do any of the local events here in Ottawa, but the online group was always ready with some virtual applause.  The website was confusing and non-intuitive but I gradually figured out how to add writing buddies and enter my daily counts.  

My biggest concerns were from people who were boasting that they were going to take their NaNoWriMo project and immediately publish it on Amazon as of December 1st.  Now, I'm a self-published author, so I don't have a problem with self-publishing, but it took me aback to see people who didn't think they needed an editor or even a second draft.  Some of the stories had some great ideas and those boasting were articulate and well-spoken, but there are too many first drafts clouding the waters.  I've tried gently pointing out that even brilliant bestsellers need more than one draft and editorial support, but I'm not sure how well my cautions were received.  

The hardest part has been writing every single day.  I've got a lot going on in my life and it's just not sustainable for me to find time every day.  I've ended up doing a lot of writing between 10pm and midnight, which ends up being hard when I have to get up six hours later.  But, on the positive side, it's also shown me where I can expand my writing hours, which should help in the future.

I've definitely learned a lot about my writing process and what motivates me, and for that I count it as an invaluable experience.  Will I do it again?  If November 2018 rolls around and I'm not in edits, most definitely.

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