NaNoWriMo: A Look Back at the Month

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So it’s December.  That means National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is over for another year.  My posts have been pretty short during November because I’ve been focused on getting my word count in for NaNoWriMo.  Today I wanted to give you a glimpse into what the month was like outside my own writing statistics.

I’m not just a participant in NaNoWriMo, I’m also an ML, or Municipal Liaison, who is in charge of organizing the local area.  I have the great fortune to have two amazing co-MLs to help me since we have around 900 active novelists each year and cover two major cities, all their suburbs, and surrounding counties worth of writers.  It’s a lot of organizing and planning, but I find it exceptionally rewarding.

This year was a little harder than usual because one of my co-MLs just went back to school, so she has less time than she already did (and she’s a homeschool mom with kids who are very active in dance and sports so she was already pressed for time).  We knew that going into the month, but my other co-ML got some good news early in the month that has come with some side effects so she’s been out of commission more than we expected.  It meant a few things fell by the wayside this year.  We didn’t post much on our region’s Facebook page, we were less active on the forums as a whole, our virtual write-ins suffered a little neglect, and I ended up picking up slack that I wasn’t anticipating as far as sending out broadcast emails and making sure the calendar was up to date.

It’s still totally worth it.  I got to see WriMos hitting daily par at my write-ins and watch as they collectively wrote over 80k in a single day during out Day of Writing Everywhere event.  One WriMo even increased their words per hour at that event by over 100 compared to the event last year.  I’ve even been watching as one WriMo overachieves to a level beyond even my own usual pace, which is often twice the challenges 50k, and part of his motivation is to beat my best ever NaNoWriMo word count of 112, 958.

I wrote a total of 101,101 words this past month, and that only counts the fiction I was working on.  I also wrote forum posts, Twitter announcements, and emails to the whole region, not to mention all the texts back and forth with my co-MLs to make sure we got everything done and didn’t miss anything important.  Maybe next year I’ll track all those words just to see how much it adds up to.

I was also a NaNo Rebel this year.  The traditional challenge is to work on a single brand new novel for the month of November.  Any deviation from that is termed “rebelling” but is embraced as a perfectly valid use of the challenge.  I started out on the traditional route, working on a new project based on an idea that came up at our Kickoff Party.  I ran out of steam about 30,000 words in.  Rather than give up or let myself fall behind, I worked on other projects.  So I’ve worked on five different stories this year, but I wrote every day in November and I’m going to try to keep that going through December and into January and make it a habit again.

That daily writing habit is one of the most beneficial things about NaNoWriMo.  It’s so much easier to keep a habit going when you’ve been doing it for a whole month already.  Even if it’s only ten minutes a day, that daily writing habit will lead to progress on a project.

If you were doing NaNoWriMo this year, what did you take away from the experience?

*Image Courtesy of National Novel Writing Month.

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