Monday, December 2, 2019

NaNoWriMo in Review // 2019

Back in 2016, I wrote 606,606 words, which is the most I have ever written during a NaNoWriMo. I had a lot of fun at the time, and even pulled three 50K days, but it also sucked in the aftermath. My wrists took forever to recover, and they are still a lot more sensitive. My brain crashed. I just majorly burnt myself out.

NaNoWriMo 2017 was discouraging for me. I had never written the bare minimum before. I had never existed outside the identity of Over Achiever. Granted, I had set editing goals for a Camp NaNoWriMo, which I hadn’t met. While it was still discouraging, it had been different. In 2017, NaNoWriMo didn’t feel like it was my element anymore, didn’t feel like it was mine. It felt like someone had crawled inside my body and taken over the controls.

Last NaNoWriMo was a victory for me, up there with my first NaNoWriMo, when I discovered that I could easily write more than 50K. It was also a better victory for me, because I learned that I didn’t have to write as much as humanly possible, that taking care of myself was also important. But the best thing about NaNoWriMo 2018 was that I got my writing mojo back; I got back into the swing of writing every day (or almost every day), and I learned more about my writing process than I had known before, lessons that helped me when I moved on to writing my next book, and the one after that.

I know everyone’s writing pace is different and success is all relative. I think I used to feel like I had to prove I could be, if not the best, then one of the best. Now I’m just happy doing what feels comfortable and relaxed and fun.

This NaNoWriMo, I worked on two separate projects, ZOMBIE FARMHOUSE and BLACK MARKET TIME, and collectively I wrote 81,818 words (I can’t resist pretty numbers, okay). I didn’t finish either project. I still have a fair amount I have to write if I’m going to meet my self-imposed deadline. But I am happy with what I wrote.

I talked about Zombie Farmhouse a bit before, in this post, but as a quick review, it’s about eight insane people attempting to survive the zombie apocalypse. Victoria Jackson and I came up with the characters and scenario when she visited me from Australia, and she asked me to turn it into a book.

There’s something especially freeing about writing something just for fun. I’m still going to do my best; I’m still going to edit it, but I don’t have any plans to try to publish it traditionally. This frees me up to experiment with writing style and technique, to write without any fear whatsoever, because there’s absolutely no opportunity for failure. I may eventually publish it on my blog, but I’m not even holding myself to that.

I’ve talked about Black Market Time a bunch as well. It’s changed a good deal over the years, and it’s changed even more—significantly more—since I resurrected it several months ago. I’m not going to lie, even though I am satisifed with what I accomplished in November, I am a little disappointed that I didn’t finish it, mainly because that means it’s now kicked my butt for three separate NaNoWriMos. The longer it goes unfinished, the more I am afraid that I will never finish. Considering what progress I did make this November, that fear is a little bit ridiculous, as it is fairly obvious now that this project is not only turning into a book-shaped thing, but it is becoming something I truly love. But I have found that the hardest part of writing, for me, is overcoming irrational fear, and I have to write quickly before my fears have a chance to accumulate.

I thought about sharing excerpts for each project like I did last year, but for whatever reason, I don’t feel ready to do that yet. I think maybe when both books are closer to completion, I’ll do a more in-depth post about each one of them. Right now I’m pretty focused on finishing their first/second draft hybrids by the end of the year.

Over the next few days, I’m thinking I’m going to give myself a sort of working vacation. I’ll read through what I’ve written so far, to get a better feel for where I’m at, catch up on some other reading, posts some blog posts, and watch extra TV. I don’t want to take too much time off, because ideas are still coming for both stories and I don’t want to shortchange myself, but I can also see that I need to stock up on words.

What about you? How was your NaNoWriMo? What are some projects you’re excited about?

1 comment:

  1. I know what you mean about writing something just for fun. It's really nice to have a project like that, one with zero expectations, one that you're just writing for you, to see how it turns out. :)