Somehow it’s almost November, and that means it’s almost time for NaNoWriMo!
For my non-writing readers out there, NaNoWriMo (a shortened form of National Novel Writing Month) is an unofficial event for writers that takes place during the month of November. The main goal of NaNoWriMo is for writers to write a novel in a month, using the definition of a novel as being 50,000 words meaning writers should aim for a word count goal of 1,667 words per day to finish on time. There are no official rules, including word count goals or how much you should write per day, many writers aim for a higher overall word count for their novel and daily goal, since 50,000 words is on the smaller ends of novels. The main goal of the event is to get people writing and to push writers into finishing a piece of work in a month. There are prizes of sorts, like a reduced price on the writing program Scrivener, and other writing programs, but otherwise NaNoWriMo is a very relaxed event in which writers can work as hard (or not at all) on their project. Anyone can participate, there is no entry fee and no one ever has to read your work if you don’t want them too, it’s really just an exercise and push into writing and completing something.
I first attempted NaNoWriMo in 2011 when I was seventeen and managed to write 23,516 words (I’m honestly shocked that I wrote that much, I wish I still had my old computer so I could read it) before getting uninterested in the story and stopping. I participated again the year after and lost again, only reaching 5,486 words on a story I don’t even remember the plot too.
I took a break after that and didn’t try again until 2016 where I wrote a measly 1,560 words (I didn’t even make the recommended word count!) and gave up. But last year I actually pushed myself, and somehow I reached my word count, and over with 51,025 words. I made vague promises on here to edit my NaNoWriMo project but never did. Well, that isn’t true. I started, but could never finish it.
The main problem is I realized after writing 51,025 words that I was telling the story wrong, and re-reading it was proving that. Many writers say that a first draft is you telling yourself the story, all the information and details that are fluttering around in your head. And I definitely agree with that, especially now that I’ve experienced it. I don’t regret writing last year’s NaNoWriMo project because it did help me sort through ideas, characters, and images that were important to me; it just turned out that the person telling the story wasn’t the right one. It doesn’t mean they won’t come back for their own story; it was just a matter of miscasting in my head.
I don’t think I’ll rework last year’s NaNoWriMo this year, though it has been on my mind a lot. I have a new idea I want to process through, one I haven’t had time to work on, and since November is coming up and I’ll be forced to find time to write I might as well do it with something that’s been nudging at the corner of my thoughts.
For now, all I can do is try to prep the best I can, and leave as much time open as I can to fit those words in.
(NaNoWriMo image from here.)