Reflections on Nanowrimo

So it’s December. The month after the one before. Most people are feeling the stress of Christmas coming up but a large group are feeling the relief that December brings. November is over, and therefore so is Nanowrimo. Whether you hit the 50,000 word target or not, you can now go back to writing at your own pace. And not see that annoying little graph point out everyday just how far behind you are.

You might have figured it out. I was not a winner. In the end, I managed 40,000 which is, as people close to me keep trying to tell me, quite an achievement in one month. It is however, not 50,000. You might also have figured out I’m a perfectionist who doesn’t like not hitting targets. In fact, it wasn’t until the very last night of November at about 5.30pm, when I was still at work instead of leaving off early as I’d hoped, that I finally gave in and accepted it wasn’t going to happen. There would be no superhero marathon writing session on the last night. To be honest, I’d hit a section I was struggling with anyway and 2,000 in one night felt very difficult.

And yet, I wrote 40,000 more words than I had the month before, on a story that I probably wouldn’t have a had a go at if it weren’t for nanowrimo. It’s not finished yet. The challenge now is to not slip back into going a week without looking at my WIP as I had before Nanowrimo.

I had always known it was going to be a difficult task. My job involves long hours and there also appeared to be a curse on a lot of nanoers this year when we all got ill within the first few days of November and couldn’t write much at all. Before starting, I was fairly sure I wasn’t going to be able to do 50,000. The difference this year was that I did it anyway. I didn’t give up on it before even beginning just because the win was unlikely. This is where we have to think about the concept of winning nanowrimo. A lot of my friends managed to pass the goal and win, some even managed double and I will not take that away from them, it was a magnificent achievement. However, do we have to call it winning? Because on that logic, I lost. And I don’t feel that writing 40,000 words is losing. There was a definite vibe a couple of weeks in where some people seemed to be getting down when seeing word counts posted by others that far surpassed theirs. At that point, I decided to stop posting numbers and post only about content because this was never a competition. It was about commiting to write, and that’s what I did. There was an awful lot of support as well and I am truly thankful to the people who were emailing me throughout and took a genuine interest in how I was doing.

So this is what I am taking from this experience: I can manage to find time to write during the week (although less than in November as it was just not sustainable; apparently I need to clean the house once in a while) and if you wrote more than you would have without nanowrimo then you’re a winner in my eyes. Will I do it again next year? Not sure yet. I think it depends on how much I write between now and then and what project I’m working on at the time. But I am glad I did it. But I still don’t miss the graph.

 

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