30 Days of NaNoWriMo


So, NaNoWriMo is officially over.  For about ten hours as of this posting.  It’s been an amazing, exhausting month.  My goal at the beginning was to write more words than my longest NaNo novel, which was 112,958 words.  That meant writing 3,766 words a day.  Some days I wrote more, some days I wrote less.  On Day 29, I ended with 5,809 words left to reach my goal of writing 112,959 words in a single month.

For perspective, that first record was set when I did not have a full-time job.  This year I have a full-time job.  I have a commute too, but at least it’s on a bus so I can spend most of it typing.  I was writing almost up to the wire last night.  I crossed the 112,000 mark at about 11:40pm.  I have twenty mintues to write 959 words.  Doable.  I often do 800-900 words in a fifteen-minute sprint.  I wasn’t too worried about it.

I also had a lot of great energy going on.  We’d gathered at a great place with good music, $2 tacos after 10pm, and a wonderful group of WriMos who cheered me on as I rushed to get my last few words in before midnight.

And my final stats ended up being:

Total words for the month: 112,693 words

Average words per day: 3,765 words

Most words written in a single day was on November 16: 7,538 words

I’m pretty proud of that.  Not only did I beat my record this month, but I did it without having to sacrifices as much as I have in some past years.  I watched two movies and a twelve-episode season of an anime with my husband.  We played a session of our Arkham Horror Living Card Game campaign.  I’m really proud of that.  I didn’t totally neglect my husband, who often referred to himself as a NaNo Widower in past years.

It’s also been an amazing year.  I’ve met so many new WriMos, which is one of the best parts about NaNoWriMo.  I love meeting other writers and getting to know them and the things they write.  We’ve got three write-ins and counting that will continue in the off-season (that’s December-October).  I’m super excited about that.

So that’s the brief version of my NaNo adventure this month.  I’ll probably do a more complete reflection in a few weeks after my usual second Friday Image Prompt and the response the following week.  If you want to check out a little about my characters for this NaNo project, they started life as one of those Image Prompts.  #0XX to be exact.  You can find the full text of that scene here.  I’ve expanded it a lot since then and there are a a bunch of new characters and much more interesting things happening around campus than I’d originally intended, which is always fun.

To close this out, I just want to talk a little bit about how much of an impact NaNoWriMo has had on my life.  A very good friend of mine that I met when her husband and I were in grad school together first introduced me to NaNoWriMo when we were writing fanfiction together in the same universe.  It was a ton of fun.  That first year was when I wrote my top word count novel (until this year).  And I wasn’t even done with the story.  The full fanfic ended up being over 205k.  It was pretty epic.  She really encouraged me to write and to stretch my skills and branch into my original stories.

I continued NaNoWriMo even when she had to take a break from it while getting her PhD.  I met new friends that have lasted through all eight years I’ve been doing this.  I went to events hosted by MLs (municipal liaisons) who encouraged me and cheered me on.  I met two of my best friends ever, who are now my co-MLs.  I also met people who had taken that plunge and self-published.  They talked to me about the process, and encouraged me to think about it when I talked about my own stories and how I was concerned that they’d never fit into a standard genre definition.

Without NaNoWriMo, I might never have put out my first book.  And my second book would never have made it through edits.  Right now three amazing WriMo friends are looking through the draft, and I’m trusting one of them to cover it in slash marks and feedback and places I can cut or tighten or make adjustments.  She’s already suggested I kill of a character, and I’m seriously thinking about it.  None of that would ever have been possible for me without the amazing and supportive NaNoWriMo community I’ve found in Raleigh.  It’s a wonderful place to be a writer and I never want to leave.  I want to stay here and keep this little writing community going for years and years.

If you were on this amazing NaNoWriMo journey with me, how was your November?  Did you hit your 50k?  Did you make any other personal goals during the month?  I’d love to share NaNo stories with anyone out there who’s been following along on my journey.

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