NaNoWriMo 2009 Afterthoughts

Whew! NaNoWriMo is over and I’m sort of … sad? It’s funny how your mind can change from fear and uncertainty at the beginning of the month, to the complete opposite at the end. Well, I suppose that’s not true if you don’t win but lucky for me, I did! I didn’t think I’d make it, but I came out alive with a word count of 50,203.

What did I learn from the month long experience? A lot! It’s not easy sitting down and writing anything that long and I’m sure the first time you do it is always the worst. Here’s a few things I learned along my journey.

  • If it’s your first time (or maybe second, third, whatever) you probably want to make this as easy on yourself as you can. I started with a story idea but it felt like I was dragging it out of my head through a swamp. Six days into the process, I dropped that story and changed subjects to something I’m very comfortable with. I think the worst thing you could do on your first try is venture down a road that you’re not familiar with. Simply changing subjects helped me write a lot faster and the story sort of just came out.
  • Ditch the editor. It’s SO hard to try to not think about what you’re writing but you must! Early on it’s a bit of a chore but you must put your head down and run past that mean old editor! Once you get used to pouring words onto a page without the editor’s interference, you become a lot more relaxed.
  • One thing I didn’t do was plan anything out. I had a piece of paper with some character names scribbled on it and that’s about it. If I had it to do over again, I might like to plan out the scene of the novel a bit more, re-think the characters and the number of them (I have WAY too many nameless characters in my novel), and maybe think about how I want it to end. I like to leave the middle open for the characters to weave their own story, but my ending sucks!
  • Don’t lose track of your characters! I have at least 4 scenes where I started out with 2 characters and ended up just focusing on one. I would be three thousand words in before I realized I had lost the other guy in my memory. Oops! Again, probably something I could have avoided with a little planning.
  • If you have a day where you really get in the groove of writing, wring as much of that out as you can! There are enough days where you struggle that it’s worth it. I did find that those days where I struggled, sometimes just hammering through a few hundred words would get things flowing nicely.

I guess that’s the basics. In the end, I have a novel that I wrote myself and even though I know it’s poorly written and needs major work to be good enough to share with anyone, I’m still extremely proud of myself and looking forward to editing it. I even started a new novel, imagine that!

To all the winners, congrats. To all those who tried, there’s always next year. Keep hammering at it!

One thought on “NaNoWriMo 2009 Afterthoughts

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.