Thursday, December 6, 2012
RRT: NaNoWriMo is over
To begin, Nano was quite difficult. With school and work, and other activities in my life, it was extremely difficult to come up with the time to do enough each day. I found myself skipping entire days and having to write 3 or 4 times the daily amount of words i order to not fall completely behind.
Its interesting the places you find time when you have none. I found myself writing at work (dont tell my boss), writing while cooking (a dangerous combination for my computer), writing while eating dinner, writing while in the bathroom (dont ask). I used the nice iPhone voice dictation thingy to write a few things in my phones notepad while I was driving, and my showers were spent imagining wonderful bits or dialogue in my head, only to rush out and hurry to type them (we wont talk about how many times I forgot to shave my legs because of this). My computer came with me everywhere, even if I knew I wouldnt have the time. It was at thanksgiving dinner next to the carrot cake, it was in my trunk when I took my dog to the surgeon, it was in my bag when I went out for mom's birthday, and I even took it with me to church. I'll admit, these times only about 30 or so words were written, but I suppose that's 30 or so words that wouldnt have otherwise been written.
There's a reason why you should start NaNo with a clean slate.I started with a Novel I had been working on for quite some time but never had the time to complete. It was about 9,000 words originally, but once I started, only about 6000 words remained because I removed an entire chapter. Nonetheless, keeping up with an accurate wordcount and coming up with new ideas was difficult when part of the novel was already written. I found myself already at 50,000 words well before the final day, but because I already started with words and didnt want to be a cheater I had to keep going. I'll remember that for next time.
I follow a few writers and read their blog posts about how it is to write a book. They talk about how dishes pile up in the sink, laundry doesnt get done, you forget to shower and otherwise lose contact with humanity. Although my experience wasnt quite as rash, I completely understood what they meant. I try to normally keep a pretty organized apartment, but November found me with dishes piled in the sink, the dishwasher, etc. I feasted on leftovers from Sunday dinner st the parents and ramen noodles, tortilla chips and salsa, popcorn, grilled cheeses, and tyson anytizer chicken nuggets. No real cooking was done, except for thanksgiving (hence the comment earlier about the dangerous computer/cooking combination). I spent conversations with people daydreaming about how I could possibly include a conversation like this in my writing. We wont talk about my laundry. The only thing that's saved me with that was the fact that the basket is in my walk in closet and I can close the door. There's no room though to actually walk in the walk-in closet anymore. (I'll have gotten to it by now though...I hope)
I found myself having full blown conversations with myself, out loud in my apartment. Maybe I was going crazy. Sometimes it would be to rationalize how much time I would spend taking a break, other times I would be in the mirror and have a conversation withmyself, pretending that the myself that was in the mirror was some other person, and then go write that conversation into my novel.
I experienced times when I doubted myself and my writing, thinking it sucked, I sucked and I was going to be a pure failure. I remember times when I dreamed of being on the NY Times Bestseller list. I fought internally with myself to try not to remove tons of pages of writing because I felt it probably sucked. I called myself all sorts of idiots and geniuses and failures. My emotions within myself were all over the place and I stressed a bit internally.
I loved writing the novel and still think a lot about how I could make it different. My characters came to life to me and I would imaging seeing them in a crowd and how they would react. I also hated writing the novel because I think I became pretty boring tomy friends. You may be surprised but talking about wordcounts and imaginary characters and worlds and discussing the awesomeness thatis your most recent development in the novel isnt all that exciting to non writers. I've seen a lot of vacant wide eyed expressions mixed with mmhmm's and ahh's as my friends feigned interest in something I could barely explain with words.
I'm proud to say I finished NaNoWriMo, and I won. It's a great feeling, even though I have tons of edits to do before I let anyone read it. I've signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo in the summer next year and will probably be doing NaNo in November next year too. So many other stories are floating around my head and I just have to write them down.
Did you participate in NaNo this year? What were your experiences with it? Will you be doing it again next year?