This may sound obvious, but I learned that it takes real effort to put 50,000 words on (digital)paper in 30 days. It also requires a general culling of all of your leisure activities – like watching Netflix or, y’know, doing laundry.
The staff and volunteers at NaNoWriMo are endlessly supportive. With pep talks from notable authors sent to you twice a week, virtual write-ins to attend, and my personal favourite tool, Twitter sprints, you always feel like they’re your biggest cheering section.
The real glory of this challenge is the community aspect of it all. Writing is essentially solitary, except I always felt like I was part of something larger. The forums on NaNoWriMo.org are filled with thousands of people willing to offer support, sympathy, inspiration, or a kick in the ass at any moment of the day or night. The participants of NaNoWriMo are crazy, random people from all over the globe, but I was immediately a part of their club, their family, their in-jokes.
NaNoWriMo has a helpful website that calculates how you are doing as you go, and also updates a super intimidating bar graph (below) as you enter your daily word counts.
As you might notice, I started strong. I had a goal to write 2000 words per day (instead of the 1667 words/day that would get me just over the finish line by November 30) and for almost the first half of the month, I did a reasonable job of meeting that goal.
Then, around day 13, the totally expected happened. I got the flu. I was an absolute mess for a good week… getting well just in time to go on the weekend away that JT and I had been planning since September.
I was so thankful I had overachieved those first two weeks. It meant that the deficit to make up was not impossible. Actually, I wrote 5000 words on the way home from our weekend away (eight hours in the car will give you that opportunity).
The second half of the month was both harder and easier. It was harder because I was focussing on other things in my personal life (I got a new job; I curl competitively; Christmas shopping had yet to be started), but easier because I had built up a momentum. I knew my characters and where I was taking them… sort of; I knew how much time I needed to put in daily to reach my goal; I knew I wasn’t likely to get sick again; I knew I had all of December to binge-watch Walking Dead and Community.
Time for the cheesy ending
I feel as of NaNoWriMo did all I hoped for and more. It demolished “writer’s block” excuses, forced me out of my comfort zone, and helped me create.
Looking forward to next year!