NaNoWriMo: Why I consider less than 50,000 words a success

My NaNoWriMo is going both good and bad. It is sort of see-sawing in both directions. It really depends what goals you refer to. The official goal is writing 50,000 words in one month. My personal goal was a change in writing attitude and behaviours. One is a bust and the other a success. As a Nano it is officially going bad, because I haven’t been able to write each day, and the only time I can write is during my lunch break. Basically this means my word count is rubbish. I am writing by hand, so I don’t know exactly how many words I am up to, but I am guessing it is up around 7000 to 8000? I took a week off as my best friend was visiting, and then this week I have been quite ill. I was already behind, but these last two weeks have seen my left in the dust. I have a friend who finished hers in 7 days (FTW) and I have two other friends who have nearly finished. Most of the people I talk to are near the goal number of words, or at least only a few thousand words behind it. But to tell you the truth, I really don’t care that I am so far behind them. I know the reasons I am behind, and I am okay with them. I never told myself that I must write 50,000 words in one month, but that I needed to give myself a chance to change my behaviour. I am really proud of how I have changed my thinking towards writing, how I have changed my editing practices, how my story is unravelling, and I am excited about what will happen to my character next.

Despite the lack of word count progress I am happy with what I am writing. I didn’t write a synopsis, or make any real plans. I was free wheeling it, and it seems to be going well for me. Every other time I have tried to write something longer than a short story, I would get caught up in editing. I’d write a page and have to go back and make it perfect. Revising one page ten times does not equal writing ten pages! o.O Nano is forcing me out of that habit of constant revision, and it means I am getting words down on paper, even if it is taking me longer than I expected. It really is difficult when you don’t have a dedicated work space. I’ve been going to cafes, writing on trains, at railway stations, etc. I’ve even stood on a door stoop and written against a wall while waiting for the rain to stop!!! No joke! I’ve banned reading urban fantasy/ paranormal romance, which is killing me (I can’t help it, I love reading about supernatural creatures in our world!) and that basically means that I am no longer reading fiction. I have a big bag of books I am meant to be reading so I can return them to their owner, but they are all in the PNR genre, and I don’t want to start the dystopian stories I have because I will go on a dystopian bender again. I thought that extra time I gained from not reading would give me more time to write, but due to lack of workspace that wasn’t to be. I bought a Sony Reader last week and have filled it up with free books on mythology and folklore from Project Gutenberg, and have been reading through those instead. The problem with my lack of planning (I decided to do Nano at the last minute) is that I haven’t boned up on the mythology and folklore I want to tap into. It resides in my skull somewhere, but I want to read over things again. That takes time.

I am handwriting, so I do need to type my Nano up, but my computer desk at home is covered in millions of books. My desk chair actually does have about 50 books stacked on it. No joke! I got curious and counted them. I tried moving them to my bed once, but then I tried to sleep in a bed covered in books, as I was too tired to move them back to my desk. It was not a success. My desk is only for my computer, so I can’t write in my notebook there, and writing in bed just hurts me. My housemate has his fiancé visiting from the Philippines, and they have taken over occupation of the house for the last three months – meaning I can’t write in the dining room. They are going on holiday next week, so I am planning on taking over the house again. My other housemate spends all her time at her boyfriend’s house, so I should have free reign! *mine. mine, all mine!* *cackles* Hopefully next week I can dedicate a decent amount of time when I am hope to write this bitch down! I did find the official write-ins very helpful! I went to one on a Wednesday at the coffee club near Town Hall. I doubled my word count that day. I also went to the tail end of a day-long write-in at Circular Quay, which was helpful. I made a character breakthrough, which was great. I wanted to go to more, but last Wednesday was the Galaxy end of year party, which I couldn’t miss, and l was sick on Sunday and Wednesday this week. Maybe this coming Sunday I will be well enough to go! I think the best thing about NaNoWriMo is the sense of community! I have met so many new people this month. And discovered that more friends than I thought were aspiring writers. I wish them all luck with their endeavours! 😀

To sum up:

I never went into NaNoWriMo thinking I would write the “Great Australian Novel”, and I was never very focused on that goal of 50,000 words in 30 days. I do not feel disappointed that I won’t make that goal. I suppose it is still possible if I could commit to writing abut 4000 words per day, but I am not going to kill myself trying to reach that goal. As far as I am concerned, I have already been successful with my NaNoWriMo goals. I have sat down and started a novel. I have gained the self control not to edit the shit out of what I AM writing! And I have started a story that I want to finish and that continues to percolate in my brain. When November 30 rolls around, I will have a big fat NC next to my name, but I really don’t care. As far as I am concerned it is a RW! (Results Withheld, as opposed to Not Completed). If you are doing NaNoWriMo this year, I wish you all the best! But even more so, I wish you all the best finishing your novel, not just writing 50,000 words!

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3 responses to “NaNoWriMo: Why I consider less than 50,000 words a success

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention NaNoWriMo: Why I consider less than 50,000 success | Tangled Words -- Topsy.com

  2. Wasn’t your goal to get past a 3,000 word mark? I thought you said something like that in the beginning and I didn’t get a chance to say to you at book club (can’t socialise at book club) that you should be proud of yourself for going over that. It’s bloody hard to get past your stopping point sometimes and I’m glad you’re proud of yourself for what you have accomplished rather than seeing it as a failure just because you’re not at the same word count as a lot of other people. The main thing is to be happy with what you have set out to achieve and to do it for yourself, not for what it says on a website.

    Sorry you’re feeling crook this week, hope you feel better!

  3. Pingback: Planning Ahead vs. Letting It Flow: NaNoWriMo Edition « Copywrite1985

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