Post-NaNoWriMo Reflections 2016

The word for this year has been distraction. I’ve been pulled in about seven thousand different directions (give or take a couple), and that didn’t change just because NaNo16 started up. In the months leading up to it, I knew that I wasn’t going to reach the astral heights of which I dreamed at the conclusion of NaNo15, and as the start date stalked ever nearer, I even had to resign myself to the unlikelihood that I would much surpass even my “minimum” goal.

Then, during the actual competition, I lost focus. Rather, I never had focus to begin with as I tried to juggle the responsibilities of everyday life. As I have before observed, my time management skills require more practice. Going “back to school” while working full time, doing freelance projects for clients, and writing every day continues to test me beyond anything I have ever before experienced, and with NaNo pushing me to write even more, I found myself struggling to keep my head above water.

Through it all, however, I managed to write. It didn’t matter how late at night it was. It didn’t matter if I was disenchanted with the scene I worked on. It didn’t matter if I simply didn’t feel like writing. I sat down, thought, and typed. I can use this experience–this difficult NaNo–as evidence that I can work through even the toughest moments, that intrepidity can pay off, and that I am still, above all else, a storyteller.

So while this NaNo was not my best, and though I’m walking away with only one completed project (but, hey, it’s a completed rewritten second draft!), I can, with relief, assert to myself that next year will be different. Even if I’m ten times busier than I was this year, I now know that lack of focus is a hurdle for me, and I can prepare for it with greater deliberation and better time management, both of which I can work on in the next eleven months before NaNo17.

NaNoWriMo Day 30

Sighs of relief, a grimace of sadness, the focus of life shifting away from competition and toward the indefatigable determination to keep moving forward–all indications that this year’s NaNoWriMo challenge is complete.

This was a rough year for a hundred thousand reasons, but instead of lamenting what could have been, I’m celebrating the accomplishment of my goal in what was a very challenging, time-management-oriented NaNo that may not have broken records, but which tested me in enlightening ways. On top of that, this marks the end of my ten-year NaNo-versary, and my ninth win!

Some stats:

  • Total words written: 104,327
  • Most words in a day: 7,042 (11/1)
  • Fewest words in a day: 586 (11/22)
  • Daily average: 3,477
  • Strangest writing place: On my laptop, the screen to which won’t close and hangs open at a 165 degree angle
  • Number of words past original goal (100,000): 4,327
  • Number of words past previous best (425,524): -321,197
  • Total NaNo word count: 1,415,130
  • Average hours of sleep/day: 5.5
  • Painkiller of choice: Aleve
  • Total deaths: Indeterminable
  • Total MC/SC deaths: 1
  • Cried for characters: 1 time
  • Projects worked on: 3
  • Weight lost: 6 lbs.

1nano

I will continue to write at least 500 words per day for the next month, and will reevaluate, come the end of December, my constraints in order to determine my challenge for next year.

If you’re still wrapping up NaNo, may you finish strong, happy, confident, and blessed!

NaNoWriMo Day 29

Way past midnight here. Exhausted. I’m up to 99,200 words, stopped on purpose before reaching 100K (I have to leave it a little suspenseful, right?).

Come on, everyone! One more day! Make it great!

NaNoWriMo Day 28

A 3K day bring me 2,500 words shy of 100K! Of course, it’s approaching midnight here (so much for my grand plans to get to bed at a reasonable time), but when you hit a word vein, you can’t just stop. Wish I’d hit it earlier, though. . . .

I worked on Cursed again, with some random fanfiction for another story thrown in just for kicks. I also managed to get a good half hour run in–in the dark, in the rain–but, tired as I am, I feel good, too. Now, that may all change as soon as I wake in the morning, but I’m trusting that all will be well. Tomorrow’s challenge will be to not fall asleep at my work desk.

Two more days!

NaNoWriMo Day 27

The final Sunday (and, thus, weekend) of NaNoWriMo has come to an end. I added another 1200 words to my total count, a small number in comparison to earlier word counts, but it is due mostly to my catching up, if you will, on a project I had let sit for a month without devoted attention. Timewise, I spent about three hours working on it, including *le gasp* editing previous work.

As December nears and I prepare to reorient my goals, I’m coming to acknowledge that word count may simply not be the best gauge of my productivity. Of course, it’s always pleasing when you see a word count of astral ambition (I hope next year to accomplish a 30K day, time–and body–permitting!), but after a time you can’t help but weigh the question of quantity versus quality.

I have nothing against NaNo’s philosophy of quantity over quality. In fact, I’m a proponent of it. You can’t edit a blank page, and a story in your head is far less likely to ever see readers than a trashed up WIP you can refine. And, sometimes, getting an idea on paper or screen helps you to see if it’s worth your time–if not, you can stop wasting your thoughts on it and move on to better ideas.

The conflict arises when you want to work on a quality draft during NaNo season. Possibly this means I need to better manage my time so that NaNo coincides with the inception of a new project, as opposed to my more dedicated efforts of refining older projects. This year, Angels of Ilesanzi was a second draft (albeit far different from the first), while, as I noted before, Cursed is on its fifth draft. It’s still a rewrite after significant developmental editing, not at all a mere line edit, but I can’t let the NaNo fairies take over the story like I’m usually inclined to do when working on first drafts.

This requires more thought. In the meantime, I hope you are all well on your way to–or are already celebrating–a win! Let’s do this, people!

NaNoWriMo Day 26

Just under 800 words concludes a day in which I was productive elsewhere, but don’t feel as if I was. Honestly, I look forward to getting back to the productivity of Monday and work (I’m one of those people)–extended weekends throw me off like a bucking bull.

I worked on Cursed today. It was great to return to the story (it’s been nearly a month!), but I admit that I had to reread about half of the current draft in order to figure out what I was doing when I stopped and where I’m going with it. I still have some catching up to do as far as ordering my thoughts is concerned, but I hope to return to it with a vengeance. My goal is to finish this draft (this will be draft #5) by the new year. We’ll see if that actually happens. In the meantime I’m going to work on it as if it’s a necessity.

Sleep calls to me, and I must go. Happy writing, everyone! Only four days remain! Let’s make them count!

NaNoWriMo Day 25

A 5K day–after a few hours of work, an hour of studying, and several hours of maundering about town in another unsuccessful bid to wrangle Christmas gifts–brings me up to 92K and, at last, the conclusion of Angels of Ilesanzi. Of course, tomorrow I’m going to panic because I have to start on a new project.

I’m glad the story is done, but I have to admit I will miss the characters. Only three of them feature in the next story in the trilogy (I don’t believe I’ll work on that this NaNo, as I have only very few ideas about what happens in it), so it was like saying good-bye to friends.

I hope everyone has recovered from their food coma and managed to be productive today, in writing and otherwise!

NaNoWriMo Days 21-24

Happy Thanksgiving!

I’ve been lax in updating the blog here for an embarrassing reason: I haven’t made any real progress. We’re talking two 1K days, a 500-word day, and, finally, a 4K day today. On a better note, however, I’m only 13K away from 100K, so I’m still on track. It also brings me to my last two chapters–turns out the denouement is going to require a few more words than I originally anticipated.

My laptop being out of commission portability-speaking, I accomplished no writing this afternoon/evening while enjoying a food coma with family, but I did accomplish the consumption of more pie than any single person–especially someone five feet tall–should ever attempt. In the spirit of balance while NaNoing, however, I did run for 30 minutes this morning (a miserable, hot run) and study for an hour, so the day was not even remotely a loss.

May we all take the time to be thankful not just today, but everyday, and may your life be blessed with reasons to be grateful!

NaNoWriMo Day 20

Four thousand words today have, finally, brought me up to 80K in total. While I didn’t finish Angels of Ilesanzi (and it’s looking unlikely to happen tomorrow, since I’ll be going for a run after work and I’m estimating another 6-8K remains in the story), I feel accomplished, and today was one of the lowest-stress days I’ve had in months.

In other news, it’s cold! And by cold, I mean it’s about 55 degrees outside as I write this. I’m from Florida. This is insupportable. I’m not lying when I tell you I have one sweater, and it’s Mickey Mouse, and I cannot wear it to work tomorrow. It’s supposed to get back up to 82 degrees by Thanksgiving, though, so maybe I won’t have to worry too much. I always say we don’t get winter down here, just cold fronts, the usual pendulum action between Florida-cold and plain old hot. Still, I enjoy checking if I can see my breath, and I’m always crossing my fingers it’ll one day snow here. Hasn’t happened since 1989, and I wasn’t even born yet.

I hope everyone is having a great time writing, no matter the weather!