Thursday, December 6, 2012

RRT: NaNoWriMo is over

Hey there Lovelies!!! Its been quite some time since you've heard from me, and if you've been following, It's because I've been focused on National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). It's finally over and I'll admit that although I'm a bit glad, I'm also a bit sad. Since this was my first NaNo, I'll give some insight on how I felt about it.

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?


Anonymous said...

First let me congratulate you on successfully completing your first NaNoWriMo and reaching 50,000 words; as a fellow participant and first timer as well I can attest this is no easy feat. I was only able to amass 18,724 words…sadly…I ultimately failed; and at first I must admit I felt really down about it and like usual, during the process, I made a lot of excuses and lost focus which kept me from achieving yet another goal. In retrospect however, I guess there is a small victory to be claimed in the fact that I had never written so much before on my novel and I at least did that much; by no means do I intend for this to be my last Nano, and I have even pledged to myself to try my own personal writers challenge, and try to write another 25,000 words by the end of this month.

Now that’s over. Enough about ME, let’s talk about YOU! (LOL)

Now…I can’t speak for anyone else but I know for me personally, I definitely missed your presence while on you were on your Nanocation; I guess if you can even call it that, it’s probably more like hell week… but for a month! Haha.
I was checking your blog almost weekly (during my own writing breaks of course), hoping maybe you would give us a little update on your progress, how you were feeling, and how it was going…but alas, there was none. So I’m really happy to see you back; can’t wait for your first book review. I’m assuming you didn’t read much at all while writing because there was not time, so something tells me you’ll probably now go into some kind of reading overload mode and your reviews will come in bunches (at least I’m hoping anyways). This rant was right on time for me, kinda made my day to see you had updated your blog finally and especially with a Nanowrimo recap, definitely enjoyed that. Can’t say I did half the things you did while writing: definitely didn’t write and cook, write and drive, write while bath-rooming, oooor write while churching (lol) or any of the other extreme writing challenges you put yourself through; but then again I didn’t even get half as many words as you, so that is to be commended.
Finally gotta say, I’m sure your just beating yourself up and doubting way too much, and selling yourself too short. You write good reviews, love writing, and I’m sure have lots of interesting things to write about; hell, we all do! So don’t think what you wrote is not interesting, or good enough, or feel like you probably wrote garbage. I’m sure it was great and hopefully one day maybe I’ll even get to read your work. Until then however, I just want to say keep up the good work; love your blog, love the energy you bring, and love the RRT (of course) and it is definitely great to have you back!


Mrs. Jones said...

Well, I know many many people who participated in NaNo this year, and for many years, but I still havent. I have been working on novels in my own time, but believe it or not, this NATIONAL WRITING MONTH... I didnt even have the opportunity to write ONE word down!!
I do have two kids, a husband, work, etc... but what was the hardest is that I used to write at work and my job position changed. And with that, i became more stressed and have literally no time to write at all at work.

anyways, I am SO happy for you! Its not an easy feat by ANY Means to write 20000 words in a month when you work and have school, but 50000! GREAT job! you should be proud of yourself!
And yeah, im sure there are a ton of edits needing to be done, but no biggy. you can do that now that you wrote the words down first!!!

Maybe next year ill participate and we can encourage eachother! :)

Great job again

Sherre said...

Mrs. Jones: I completely understand not being able to write with the kids and stuff, and as a person that recently got a new position at work, I understand not being able to write at work either. My first few weeks of Nano were slow mainly because I had the same problem. I could no longer write at work. It posed a problem and I thanked fate that all I had was a dog at home to take care of and not a husband and kids. I cant imagine what it's like for you. I look forward to next year and hope you do it too!

YSA:It actually wasn't like hell week. I kind of loved it in my own little way, escaping to the unrealities of my book world. It was a sort of haven. The constant pressure to produce though wasnt heaven. It was difficult to enjoy my time there when I was also partially focused on producing something. A love hate relationship has been build I suppose. Glad to see I was missed, and hopefully my writing is a good as you say it is. As for you, I'm glad you were able to get your 18,000+ words. Thats 18,000+ words you didnt have at the beginning of the month and 18,000+ words closer to finishing the novel. I look forward to having your support next year, and giving you some too.

Lan said...

Congrats again on finishing NaNo! I know exactly how you feel. I'm semi relieved but also really sad at the same time. I started off with a few hundred words of my book as well and as much as I wanted to chop them all out and start again I just couldn't because I was too scared to not make the word count. In the end I finished early and had several thousand words to spare. I'm so glad you decided to do NaNo this year. I'm going to look into doing Camp NaNo as well!

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