Daily Update: NaNoWriMo Postmortem
First of all, I ‘won’ NaNoWriMo. That was one of my many goals for 2012 was to finally win NaNoWriMo. I’d only done this once in 2007 when I was working on the first V&A Shipping novel. This year I was working on the sequel to V&A Shipping and I had a blast writing it. Writing goals I’ll discuss later this month when I do my 2012 postmortem. There’s a lot to discuss on 2012 and NaNoWriMo is just one small piece.
Coming into NaNoWriMo I was trying to finish up Of Gnomes and Dwarves Book 1. I’d written and re-written and edited this book to death over about a ten year span. One of my goals for 2012 was to use the first book as an outline and write it from scratch and not try and edit the book to be better. I started that effort in mid-September and thought I would be able to finish prior to NaNoWriMo starting.
So as it got closer to November and I needed to get an episode of Golden West written and produced as well as assembling the Action Pack Podcast I had my work cut out for me. I still had a ways to go with Of Gnomes and Dwarves and I also needed to get a plot written up before I began.
I finished Of Gnomes and Dwarves on October 30th by writing 4000 words per day the last few days. It was a blast to write the end of that book and coming off that high I needed to be ready for another marathon of writing all of November. I honestly wasn’t sure I would be able to pull it off. I was spent after the end of re-writing the first book I’d ever written, but I was excited to write V&A II.
October 31st 2012; Halloween. Lots to do as it was a work day, Halloween, and much to do that night. I had a rough plot in my head and I had a vague idea of where the story was going to start and where it was going to end. I knew I was going to be introducing an unexpected romance, a new character from Earth, and a Dyson Sphere in trouble. I even had the first line in my head.
“It’s kind of hard to lose a planet, kid.”
This, of course, would be Vic talking to Joey. What did Joey do wrong? How’d they lose the planet? Where was the planet going? How was B.T. Justice going to be involved? How were they going to get out of this pickle? So many questions.
I wrote 25 sentences to get me just over halfway through the story and a few questions that I knew needed answering in the long run. Some answered in Book 2, some will carry over in the series. I didn’t have any names for anything. That was a major frustration, but I’m good like that and I’ve gotten better in not letting something like that slow me down.
So the day before NaNoWriMo I wrote around 400 words of plot. That was it. I felt weak in the knees. I felt like I rushed Of Gnomes and Dwarves. I didn’t think I could pull off 50,000 words in November with Thanksgiving, volleyball games, practices and everything else going on. It’s a short month and so much going on.
Here’s a screenshot of my excel spreadsheet to show the NaNoWriMo word goal. You can see I had a great first day, then nada the second day. Yeah. I was worried, but I knew I could pick up the slack. I did great for most of the month. You can then see things fell apart toward the end of the month and a couple days where it was touchy and others where it was plain nose to the grindstone and go for it writing. This is just how I work even though I try to write daily.
It wasn’t an easy month. A lot happened. I lot went on in my head thinking about things I needed to take care of. Plans beyond December into 2013 and so many things I need to take care of. But this was one goal I promised myself. I was going to knock NaNoWriMo out of the park. I didn’t knock it out of the park, but I had a solid showing and I’m proud of that. A hit is still a hit even if it wasn’t a home run.
One of the biggest things I learned in NaNoWriMo that I’ve tried to stick with throughout the year is to keep on writing. Don’t worry about what’s broke, just keep going until you hit then end and THEN worry about what’s broke. I can always re-write scenes, chapters, sections, and in the case of Of Gnomes and Dwarves, entire books. Everything is fixable. Pushing ahead in spite of your internal editor and your own self doubts is what matters.
I’ll admit one thing. Before NaNoWriMo I deleted all the games off my tablet and phone. Angry Birds, Temple Run, couple tower defense games, everything. Gone. Zap. Done! It wasn’t easy, but I did it. This was the best thing I could have done for my productivity during November. No longer did I have the excuse of “Oh, I’ll just get three stars on this one level and then I’ll get to writing. Okay, one more level.” That kind of mentality ate away many hours prior to NaNoWriMo and I wasn’t about to let it eat away my time during November.
I also got back in the habit of “I’m not feeling it” and forcing myself to get up and come back in five or ten minutes and start over. Basically doing a reset in my brain so I would not focus on a blank page, but start typing. I even started with my Daily Updates again which are a great primer to get all the funk out of my head. It helps me work through what I’m doing, keeps my goal in front of me, and forces me to address the day at hand.
If I looked at 50,000 words, that was overwhelming. I won’t lie. It’s daunting. But when I look at 1667 that’s not a daunting number. I can type that many words in one sitting no problem. I’ve done 2500 words an hour before if I’m excited enough or motivated enough. I just need to focus on the task at hand and go for it.
Looking at something so big in smaller chunks helps even when looking at my annual goal, but we’ll cover that when I do my 2012 breakdown.
All in all I wrote 67,830 words during the month of November. 50105 of those words were new fiction. I’m excited about that number. I’m looking at November and I know I won’t write 50,000 words for a couple of reasons, but we’ll get to that in another post.
I took the entire weekend off from writing. I read a lot of short stories. I read a good chunk of a new book (How I slept Myself to the Middle by Kevin Pollak) and I relaxed as much as possible. The new few weekends will be PACKED and even though I have the last two weeks of the year off, I will not be getting as much writing done as I’d like.
That being said, it’s time to do the day job.