NaNoWriMo Recap

This November, I committed to the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) challenge: writing 50,000 words during the month of November. I knew it was going to be intense. I knew (or hoped) it would help me kick off the last book in the trilogy I'm working on. What I didn't realize was how helpful the process would be! Here's a recap of the whole crazy experience:

NaNoWriMo 2016 Recap |

Before NaNoWriMo

I prepped for the challenge by completing the steps of Shaunta Grimes' Plotting Workshop. This is also the process I used when I was plotting Book 2. I can't recommend this workshop enough! Usually, I don't like to plot out a story before I start writing. I feel like it ruins the fun of discovering where the story will end up. The Plotting Workshop showed me a way to plan out my story that didn't ruin the fun at all! By the time November 1 rolled around, I had a plot board, character sketches, and setting research all ready to go.

During NaNoWriMo

I write well under pressure. Just in case writing 50,000 words in 30 days doesn't seem like enough pressure, check out this graph of my daily word count. The closer the deadline loomed, the more words I wrote per day!

National Novel Writing Month Wordcount Graph | NaNoWriMo 2016 wordcount

See the last week there? At least 10,000 of those words were powered by caramel macchiatos. I regret nothing.

One major benefit of writing during NaNoWriMo was the online support. For example, when I saw I had 10,000 words to go in the last week of the challenge, I also knew I wasn't the only one. Several other writers on Instagram and Twitter were in the same boat. We encouraged each other and we all made our goals!

After NaNoWriMo

Aside from attempting to step down my caffeine intake, I haven't done much of anything since November 30. I haven't done any editing--in fact, I haven't opened up the Word document again. I know that a draft I wrote that quickly wouldn't be my best work, and that's okay. I feel great that I have a first draft done. When I'm ready, it'll be there, ready to expand and edit.

Would I attempt NaNoWriMo again?

I can't believe I'm even typing this, but--yes. I absolutely would do this again. NaNoWriMo is a great way to hammer out a first draft. I was able to let go of the idea that I had to write well--I just had to write.

Did you participate in NaNoWriMo this year? How was your experience? 

National Novel Writing Month (please send coffee)

Last week I shared that I was going to undertake the National Novel Writing Month challenge and write 50,000 words between November 1 and 30.

Prepped for the challenge: notes, computer, and my favorite Alice in Wonderland coffee mug.

Prepped for the challenge: notes, computer, and my favorite Alice in Wonderland coffee mug.

In order to write 50,000 words in 30 days, I need to write about 1,667 words per day. I've shared previously that I typically write 2,000 words a day--so what makes the NaNoWriMo challenge different? Since I'm a freelance writer as well as a fiction author, that typical 2k-a-day routine covers a lot of freelance work and some (but not much) fiction writing. So in reality, between freelancing and working on the NaNoWriMo challenge, I'll be writing over 3k words a day this month.

(Yikes. This feels like a good moment to refresh my cup of coffee.)

Joking aside, there are a lot of benefits to taking on a challenge like this one. The biggest and most important one is the camaraderie. Writing can feel a little lonely sometimes unless I make a point to reach out and network with other writers. NaNoWriMo makes that easy. Writers can connect with their local region online, attend local write-in events, and add writing buddies from all around the 'net. Have a crazy writing buddy? Need a crazy writing buddy? Either way, NaNoWriMo is a good way to meet up.

NaNoWriMo is also good for accountability. Now that I've announced all over the Internet that I'm planning to write 50k words in November...I kind of have to do it. If it was just a private goal that I would have the book drafted by Thanksgiving, I could easily give myself an extension and no one would be the wiser. I'd have plenty of perfectly reasonable excuses, too: I have lots of freelancing to do, it's time to start shopping for the holidays, the closets need to be cleaned...

Telling someone (or in my case, everyone) that I'm committed to this goal makes me much more likely to see it through. So far, it's working. Yesterday (Day 1 of the challenge) I wrote 2,021 words on my novel. That's a pretty good start.

Today is Day 2 of the challenge. Good luck, NaNoWriMo writers! Ready or not, here we go!

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this month? Feel free to connect with me on the site- my handle is Ellen Smith Writes.