Yeah, that’s right Inner Demons – you were wrong about me. All that hopelessness and doubt you whispered in my ear was baseless baloney. You’re like the Breitbart of my mind – telling me everything is awful and finding people to blame other than myself.
Well eat this, you Pessimistic Pixies!
Read it and weep, you Imps of Uncertainty. I came at this challenge unprepared and you told me to quit at every turn, telling me “You didn’t have time to prepare!” – “Sack it off and do it properly next year!” – “50,000 words is impossible with a full-time job!”
Eat me, you Doubting Devils. I did it, I wrote 50,000 words in 29 days and I have a slightly shitty, nonsensical novel to prove it.
Having kept a writing journal for the past year, I am blessed with the ability to quantify what NaNoWriMo means to my productivity. Check this handy chart out.
Yeah, November 2016 blew my other months of writing out of the water; I was almost three times as productive as my best month of writing on record, October 2015’s 17,000 words.
That’s astonishing – just as it was exhausting. This is not something you can do every month, but I have to admit I’m already looking forward to next November to crack out another novel.
Let’s take a closer look at the daily data, comparing NaNo with my previous best, that fateful October.
You can clearly see the black lines of NaNo reach consistently higher and there isn’t a single gap between every entry, whereas there are 7 days without any words at all on my previous best month. That bumps my average word count from 588 a day up to 1,728.
To be fair, I had to take a day off work to finish up, because I was unavailable on the last day of November – but, my goodness, was that day enlightening. I spent it writing, running errands and doing jobs in the house, and I got a tantalising glimpse of what it must feel like to do this shit for a living.
It felt real – attainable – within reach, even!
And honestly, I’m thankful for NaNo,
- for inspiring me to find a higher state of creativity;
- for instilling greater confidence in my ability; and
- for reminding me how wonderful it would be to attain some degree of success.
I don’t care about riches, I never have, really. But that life – writing as a means of subsistence – seems to me the most glorious goal of all.
So what’s the plan now?
Well, I may have reached 50,000 words, but I didn’t get to the end of the story, so first thing’s first, I need to close it out. Once it’s done, common consensus is to leave it to one side for a month or two, and come back to it with a fresh head. Re-read it, note the problems, edit where necessary.
Once that’s done, I have a few trusted beta readers who I know will give me genuine and uncompromising feedback. I’ll take that, make a third draft with the pointers I agree with, and then, the bastard goes on Scribophile.
I’ve not posted a novel on Scribophile before, just short stories and and a first chapter of something I was toying with. I’ll need to build up a bunch of karma points by critiquing fellow writers, and potentially getting my teeth into someone else’s novel. It can be hard work, but from my experience on that site, the more one analyses others’ work, the better equipped you are to analyse your own, and improve your craft.
Before that, I’ll be going over my Citadel draft, trying to form that into something I can send out to betas as well.
Suddenly, I’ve got two projects on the go, both in advanced stages of development, and a third brewing in my mind like some fabulous casserole cooked over night.
In the meantime, I’ve only got 11 months to come up with a new idea for next NaNoWriMo2017…
BRING – IT – ON