In case anyone was wondering, I pulled out another win for NaNo 2012. Yay me! My winning word count was 50,331.
From participating in four NaNos and one Camp NaNo I’ve learned that each experience is very different from the others. There is absolutely no way to predict how it will go based on how past NaNos went.
This year was really odd for me because while I never truly struggled or suffered complete agony in trying to get my story from head to page, I was also behind for pretty much the entire month. Out of the thirty days in November I was only caught up on word count on five of them.
But at least unlike my Camp NaNo 2011 loss, I was never deeply in the hole. The furthest behind I got was somewhere around 5k words, so it always felt doable, which encouraged me to keep plodding forward. So the lesson learned from this one I guess is to just keep moving and you can surprise yourself.
At 50k words the novel isn’t complete. I’d estimate the story is somewhere between one-third to one-half done. Which means there’s a lot of work yet still to do if I want to complete the first draft.
This one was the biggest mess I’ve written, and that’s including compared to my first NaNo. That one was a mess structurally because I had no idea what I was doing. This one is a huge mess in terms of the writing, which is all over the place. One of the only things that kept me moving was allowing myself to ramble. A lot.
If I ever complete it and go on to work on a second draft it will require not just cleaning up, deleting, and revising, but a lot of actual rewriting. But that’s not as daunting to me as it used to be. The idea of all that work involved used to mentally freak me out and make me want to quit, but I’ve discovered that I actually enjoy editing. So it doesn’t matter to me now nearly as much how messy the first draft is. At least it provides the framework of the story to work on.
So that’s been another valuable lesson. Don’t worry about what I’m spewing out, as long as the story I wanted to tell is located somewhere in the muck. Anything and everything can be fixed later, but you have to have something to fix in the first place before you can get anywhere.
I haven’t written any more on it since the last day of November. My motivation was low this year, so I’m enjoying the break from worrying about word count. But I hope that at some point in the coming months I’ll feel inspired enough to get back to it and see if I can get a second complete novel under my belt.
I hope the rest of you who participated this year had a successful NaNo. Even if you didn’t make it to 50k, if you wrote some part of a new original novel you accomplished something!