WiP Wednesday: NaNoWriMo Aftermath

For your mid-week reading, I present to you What I Learned From NaNoWriMo This Year. This will probably sound a lot like what I learned from NaNoWriMo last year, which begs the question, have I really learned it if I'm not applying it?

1. Semblance of a Plot Outline Helps...a lot. I'm an odd kind of pantser, friends. I don't like planning too much, and I can't really handle the outline thing (working on it!), but the thing is, I'm also one of those people who can only write blind up until a certain point. Now, this might be my Inner Editor talking, but I have to stop when every writerly instinct is telling me the myriad strands of plot lines are going to be one huge FLAMING MESS of HOPELESS TANGLED YARN if I don't figure out what the heck I'm doing.

This year, I restarted a story from scratch. So I had a better idea of plot events, which meant writing scenes with forward momentum was a lot easier than it was last year.

2. Don't Think Too Much. Thinking too much stifles me. That's why NaNo's GAG THE INNER EDITOR AND WORD VOMIT attitude helps so much because it is an explicit, consistent, and constant reminder for me to shut the Inner Editor up.

I didn't do as well with this aspect this year; I was still thinking too much about plot and scene placements. BUT I did have my moments. It didn't involve epic wordage so much as a rather pretty piece of world building.

This story-verse's version of Heaven had always consisted of just one celestial city. Now there's three.

3. Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize! Lots of people have mentioned this already, but one of the biggest revelations you can get from NaNo is you get A LOT done when you prioritize your writing / writing time! This November, I almost never had big chunks of time to write, but instead of trying to wait around for chunks of time, I just cut out smaller bits of time wherever I could and dedicated it to writing.

4. SOME words are better than NO words! I didn't write a lot every day (I don't think I ever made the average words per day you'd need to finish 50,000 words in 30 days), but I did write and now I have 10,000 words more than I would've had.

Besides, I think I'm coming to the conclusion that for certain things, I'm just not the kind of person who can spew words. Wish it were so, but the extent of that for me seems to be reserved for academic paper-writing (on a deadline) and what I like to call "random crack fic" [you know, the kind where anything goes and your characters do ridiculous things like infiltrate your friend's/co-writer's/other people's story-verses, hunker down in stranger's houses, and eat everything in sight (including but not limited to the kitchen sink). The bright side is usually everything can be replaced, saved, or otherwise regurgitated in pristine shape.]

So that was my NaNoWriMo experience. I'm actually pretty proud of myself because the personal goal for this year was to have 10,000 words at least (a doubling of last year's 5000 or so), and I did just that.

(I also try to ignore the fact that Alz started NaNo a little over halfway through the month and hit 50,000 words with like 3 days to spare, but then again, she is a true Word Monster and I'm not daft enough to compare myself to that level of output. It's like how I strategically sat far away from her during AP Lit testing because I didn't want to hear the furious flipping of her pages as she churned out her essays. FAST, the Alz is.)

What did YOU take away from NaNoWriMo? Did you reach YOUR GOALS?

Now, please excuse me while I attempt to recover from the lingering bits of my cold, sleep deprivation, and general holiday related stress. I love the holidays, but man is good cheer exhausting! See you Friday!


Lydia Kang said...

I didn't do Nano, but I'm needing all this advice right now since I'm working on a new WIP. Perfect timing, thank you!!!!

Elena Solodow said...

I didn't participate in NaNo, but I believe wholeheartedly in #4.