I conquered NaNoWriMo and lived to blog about it.
For those who are not in the know, NaNoWriMo is the playful acronym for National Novel Writing Month, where you pledge to write 50,000 words during the month of November. The prize? The self-satisfaction of having written damn near close to an entire novel in 30 days.
I won’t lie: it was terrifying.
I had attempted NaNoWriMo twice before and quit before the end of the first day. But this time, I had a goal. I wanted to finish the first draft of my next YA novel before the end of 2013. I had written 18,000 words during the summer, but lost serious steam and got stuck on a plot point I couldn’t quite grasp and gave up on trying to figure it out.
Instead, I focused on querying the other novel that I finished in May.
So when October rolled around and I started seeing all the NaNoWriMo-flavored tweets, I decided it was time I kicked my rear into gear and got this book finished. The goal was to write 1,667 words per day to finish on time.
On Day One, I wrote 5,300. I did, however, spend a solid two hours staring at a blank computer screen, wondering how the hell to fix the plot point I was so focused on during the summer.
And then it hit me: WHY am I focusing on this one particular moment? What do I want to happen AFTER this scene? That was the most important revelation I’ve ever had and instead of focusing on what I couldn’t seem to write, I focused on where I wanted to end up, and that opened up EVERY door.
My creative juices flowed that first day, and wouldn’t you know it: I ended up going back to that plot point and worked it out that day. The answer was right in front of me the whole time, and I just needed to push forward in order to see it.
During this past month, I pushed everything aside: friends, family, Steve (sorry, babe!), paper grading (as much as humanly possible, anyway) and focused on writing this book. I stayed focused while focusing on myself. For the first time in a very long time, I felt like myself again.
As of now, I have 72,000 words, and I’m three chapters away from finishing.
What’s Next? I’m very happy with how this WiP is shaping up, and I plan on finishing up the first complete draft within the next few weeks. My goal is to spend the beginning of 2014 editing the crap out of it to get it ready to query (if the book I’m querying now doesn’t catch on, that is. Hopefully I’ll have some great updates on that process soon…)
I don’t want to toot my own horn, but I think I could have something really special with this book.
Ok, now I totally just jinxed myself didn’t I?
NO, I didn’t! I’m just confident. NaNoWriMo did me good. I’m proud of myself that I stuck with it, but even more than that, I’m just excited that I’m nearing the end of writing this story that I’d been wanting to tell for years.
Wish me luck!
If you want to check out my stats and see my daily word count and how much I KILLED IT all month (even though I totes lost serious steam in the middle for a solid week) click here!