National Novel Writing Month-or NanoWriMo for short-is a challenge to write 50000 words in the 30 days of November. It’s a hard challenge to complete. I have done it before. I won five times over the years. Last year was one of those, and it was how I got started writing again after so many years away.
This year I won again!
Not only did I hit my 50k, I did it in 15 days, and I finished the book in 22 days, coming in at 59k - blowing through the target by almost 10k. To say I am pleased with myself is an understatement.
Though, I have to admit this was mostly possible because I planned a stay at home holiday for nine days. But regardless of the holiday, it is more than I have ever done in that time in my writing memory (which is, I admit, still a bit short).
I am already looking forward to next year. What can I do to make it smoother, or better, or easier? Did I want to do the same again, write more in less time? What project do I want to do? (Yes, I know it’s a bit early for this, but still it sits in my head. What next?)
So, what have I learned from Nano?
Writing without a plan can be more fun, but it can slow you down - I found that the times I ground to a halt was where my plan was thin, or non-existent. Next year I am going to have more of a plan in place. This year I’d been working on another project right up to the wire and never had time to create my plan.
Timed writing - Writing 1k words of an evening is about the limit to my focus, sometimes sooner, sometimes a little later, but generally around that mark. Writing 4k-5k per day is only possible when I set myself timed writing periods and breaks-1hour writing, 15m-30m break. Sometimes these are called writing sprints, but while I left my phone in another room to avoid distractions, I didn’t do true sprinting where your hands never leave the keyboard. But it worked for me.
I loved it - The challenge of writing this book was a fantastic push and really showed me what I can do if I really want to and have the time.
Right now 5k per day is a top end limit - this could change over the year, but after 4k I really struggled even if the flow was good, there was just not enough chill time to balance the working time.
Don’t look back - In nanowrimo it’s all about looking forward. You don’t stop to edit. Good, or bad, draw a line under it and summarise it if you have to, but just keep writing. I can fix everything in the edit.
What did the month look like in numbers?
You can see the numbers at the start of the month was smaller, I knew I had the time coming up, so I was doing a bit of planning on the side, still working as normal. Then my holidays hit, and the word counts rocket up.
Nov 23, 2020 - From here on did a few words, plus starting revision on the first Coalition of Seers Novel. But I just stopped counting once I finished the Novel.
Nov 22, 2020 3844 words - Finished the Book 58,933
Nov 21, 2020 1051 words
Nov 20, 2020 500 words
Nov 19, 2020 820 words
Nov 18, 2020 1383 words
Nov 17, 2020 202 words
Nov 16, 2020 740 words
Nov 15, 2020 5074 words - Holiday - Won Nano
Nov 14, 2020 3930 words - Holiday
Nov 13, 2020 5763 words - Holiday
Nov 12, 2020 5285 words - Holiday
Nov 11, 2020 4333 words - Holiday
Nov 10, 2020 5160 words - Holiday
Nov 9, 2020 4067 words - Holiday
Nov 8, 2020 3976 words - Holiday
Nov 7, 2020 4219 words - Holiday
Nov 6, 2020 1122 words
Nov 5, 2020 1249 words
Nov 4, 2020 1557 words
Nov 3, 2020 1628 words
Nov 2, 2020 1599 words
Nov 1, 2020 1301 words