Monday, December 1, 2014

NaNoWriMo 2014

Last year was the first time I participated in National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo, and my efforts back then were less than successful. I've participated again this year to better results, which goes to show just how much a person can improve their writing during a single year.

NaNoWriMo takes place every November, during which time everyone with an interest in writing a novel is invited to partake in the challenge of writing a 50,000 word novel in one month. Local meetups and seminars are organized, online forums are opened up for discussion and help, and statistics are tracked.

Last year I worked on a novel I had started months before, which was then called "An Offbeat Affair," a story which I described on the NaNoWriMo website as:
"A first-person account of what it's like to be 'the other woman.' Mandy is a college senior who is sleeping with a married man, and she's not exactly feeling bad about it. Through her experience she learns more about herself and what she believes in, and finds love in a very unexpected place, which leads to her getting tangled up in a complicated relationship that could only exist in literature in the 21st century."
Unfortunately I got bogged down with rewrites and revisions of my novel, which ultimately led to me completing the month with a measly 13,102 words to show for it (though I actually wrote much more, I didn't count my revisions into my final word count, only the actual length of the novel). My logged statistics were thus:
My stats for NaNoWriMo 2013
It's quite depressing to look at, but that novel had and has been quite difficult for me to write, since it involves me constantly pushing myself to write something above my average skill level.

When November 2014 rolled around I barely remembered about NaNoWriMo at all. I hadn't planned to participate, since, as with last year, I initially thought of the event as a gimmick that detracts from the actual writing itself. It wasn't until I was about two weeks into the month that I realized that I'd been writing a much higher volume of words per day than ever before, so I decided to utilize NaNoWriMo simply to keep track of my word count.

Though you're meant to start and finish your novel during November, it wasn't as much of a stretch in 2014 to write a novel I had already started on, since I had only started it a week before November (as opposed to months before in 2013). Furthermore I had already made a promise to myself to do as little revising as possible for this novel, which is tentatively called "Eternal Paradise," and I describe on the NaNoWriMo website as:
"A teenage boy's uncle, best friend, girlfriend, and mother all die within the same month, and just when his confusion and anger start to become unbearable he is whisked away by a mysterious stranger to a tropical paradise in another world where nothing is as it seems."
I can say with pride that I had not only surpassed my word count for last year's NaNoWriMo at 22,403 words, but that number also surpasses the entire current word count for last year's still-in-progress novel.
My stats for NaNoWriMo 2014
I was writing almost exclusively during the week for an hour a day, averaging just over 1,000 words per hour (the listed words-per-day obviously includes the days I didn't write at all). This is very much thanks to the hour-long lunch break that I get at my new job, the freezing cold temperatures that have kept me inside for the lunch break, and the thrill I get of feeling a story move from my head, through my fingertips, and onto the computer screen.

Perhaps next year I will take NaNoWriMo much more seriously, and really dedicate myself to meeting the 50,000 word goal. I can't help but feel incredibly accomplished and enthusiastic about the future, and I wonder what novel I might be working on next year.

I also really, really hope to be finished with a novel and published by then.

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