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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Reflections on NaNo

As usual, it is November 30th and I'm finally glad I took part in NaNoWriMo. I was not glad on November 1st. Or on the fourth. Also, I think I was regretting it around the sixteenth. The entire last act of my book felt like a waste of time, but...I did it. I completed, and am glad that I did.

I've written a few notes about my progress, and written posts in past years about what NaNo meant to me, did for me, or so forth. This year I'd mostly like to just like to reflect on what was different about this year for me, what worked, what didn't, and especially what I'd like to keep in mind for next year.

1. Success - I wrote every day, even while out of town. This year I broke my writing time into two separate chunks during the day, though, rather than trying to fit it in all at once. Why did this work better for me? Because a thousand words at a shot is much more manageable. I only really need to have one scene in mind to get through a thousand words, and then I have a few hours to think about where the next scene might take me.

2. Success - I backed up my work every day. Although I've never had a catastrophic event involving my computer and loss of precious work (knock on an entire lumber yard), I think it goes without saying why I consider this a success. In past years, I've been so relieved to be done my 2k for the day that I've slapped my laptop shut without a second thought. Bad Denise.

3. Fail - I didn't have a clear ending for my book in mind. I should have worked harder on this before November the first, but I admit, I was lazy and busy and full of lame excuses. Because of this, the last section of my book does need A LOT of work. Heck, the whole thing probably does. But at least I won't be staring at a blank screen now. So I consider it at least a partial success.

4. Success - The Post-NaNo Outline. This is the first year I've attempted anything like this, but this year, as soon as I finished my 50k novel, I jumped right back in and condensed the whole thing to outline form. Now, while I wander over to my next writing project, I have something to send my critique partner. Because I am plot-challenged (and my CP is not) at this stage in the game I know I will need some major changes, most of which should be able to be picked out from an outline, rather than reading an entire messy draft of my poor early writing.

5. Fail - I've been more anti-social this November than ever before. My friends and family have been gracious, but I owe them big time. For a number of reasons, this has been my busiest NaNo season yet. But I did it. I completed. And I'm looking back with a smile on my face.

I'd love to hear your reflections on this years' NaNoWriMo. Did you do anything different? Any specifics you would consider successes or failures?


  1. Congratz on finishing NaNo! I completed it a few days back and am so excited to jump back into it (I need to finish it) as soon as December starts, when all my other deadlines are in the clear.

  2. Hey congrats on reaching your word goal and finishing your novel! It might look 'bad' in your eyes, but I bet it's good! And that's what revisions are for.

    I also reached 50 thousand words! Although I am no where close to finishing, I'm really proud of myself for getting there!


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