Tuesday, December 1, 2009

NaNoWriMo: WIN??

Yes. NaNoWriMo was a win. In some ways.

First, it was a technical NaNoWriMo win-- I wrote 50K words on a new project for November. It was also a win because they were good words. I read through what I have on Plural and I find myself enjoying it, even though I know it needs some work. (For starters, the first 1/4 is in past tense, the rest written in present.) It was a win because it was good writing practice. It was a win because I kept up a nice writing pace.

Now the non-win part.

The whole second half-- seriously, twenty-five thousand words-- needs to be scrapped. OUCH. Some of the scenes, some of the dialogue may be recycled-- but not in this story. Halfway through I changed direction, and started writing something else. So there may be some usable scraps in there, but not much.

So at the end of the month, instead of having 50K words of crap writing I have 25K words of not-crap writing and the clear direction of where to take this story. This is pretty good. Though I am setting what's left of Plural aside for right now. I learned that I really do best when writing only project at a time. Juggling stories, characters, voices, etc. didn't work out so well for me. I could do it, but it was harder to get into the right mood for each separate WiP. I found my self thinking in Elle's voice, when I should have been focusing on Claire's, and vice versa. It's crazy enough that I already have voices in my head, I don't need them fighting for attention.

I've also come to the realization that I should always, always, outline. Writing on the fly works for me for the first part of the story-- but after that I need to step away, review what I've written and determine where it's going. Plus, I really like outlining. It's fun. And even though I outline, the story always ends up surprising me along the way.

So. That's the result of my NaNoWriMo attempt.

Did you win? What do you consider a "win"?

Peace and Reese's Pieces,


  1. Hey, congrats on your win! I was wondering how do you outline? I am in my editing process now and I could use some tips.


  2. Kat, I feel your pain. I cut 10k from my NaNo story. At least it's back on track...

    Good luck with it.

  3. Yay for the win parts! Good luck with it.

  4. Congrats on your win, ouch for your 25k cut. I won in the sense of I got a lot of good writing in, but not in the sense of making it to the 50k mark. So I did/didn't win but it was nice. Congrats!

  5. NaNoWriMo 2009 was a huge win for me in 3 ways:

    1. I succeeded - I wrote 50,000 words on a new project. Life is in the doing and I love challenges. Sometimes I like to see how far I can push myself just to see what I'm made of. This project required a lot of tenacity due to unforeseen professional work and personal issues (sick pets, etc.) that impeded my ability to write every day. Finishing after falling WAY behind gave me a strong self-actualizing boost.

    2. I learned a lot - mostly I learned that word wars and sprints are mostly a waste of my time. Sure, I wrote more words than I would have without those tools, but for the most part they were not quality words. For the month I probably wrote 15,000 words that I'll keep and revise but the rest is just plain junk. However, I also learned that writing for quantity over quality is not entirely without merit. I found that blazing through text like that is a great way to unload all the mental baggage that that builds during non-writing spells so that I can fully unleash my creative voice on a particular WIP that might otherwise suffer from mis-attention disorder.

    3. I reignited my literary fire - I'm now writing daily again. That was the biggest reason for doing this. My writing career had become bogged down and was in danger of becoming stranded and abandoned. Stagnation is the writer's greatest enemy. The simple (okay, not so simple) act of writing that much over that short a time reminded me of what's possible and how great if feels to write (when it's quality writing).

    So all in all, it was a very profitable endeavor.

    Kat, you're one of my new heroes. I thought you might bail on your NaNo project to work on your other WIP. You fought several psychological battles over the month and demonstrated that determination and tenacity are formidable forces. I think you learned a lot about yourself as a writer and I certainly learned a lot about being a writer just from watching you. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


  6. Congrats on your win! I prefer outlining too. Makes things, generally, less crazy, and there's usually less plot editing to do at the end.

  7. I have an award for you on my blog!