. . . winner! and Wonder Woman! and wee bit proud!
Today, I became a NaNoWriMo winner. It means I reached the target of writing 50,000 words in one month. I'm currently at over 52,000 words and I'm hoping to maintain this habit of writing every day. It has been an absolute joy to spend so much time with my characters, to find new scenes unfolding and to almost hear the different sections click into place.
It's the first time I've tried NaNoWriMo and I'm proud I managed to reach the 50,000 target.
Of course, this is only the beginning. My novel isn't complete at 52,000 words hence why I hope to keep writing every day until the first draft is finished. Then I will put it aside for a month before attempting the first edit.
On the NaNoWriMo forums, there are people who have written screeds more than the 50,000 and others that haven't reached the target yet. Here's my lessons from my first NaNoWriMo.
1) Dip into your regional forum. If you have time then real-life meet-ups and write-ins seem like a fab idea.
2) Visit the wider forums too. There's a real sense of community and you'll feel inspired and encouraged.
3) Find a fellow group of NaNoWriMo-ers. I found an online group who were super motivated, chatty and fun. When the forums were quiet, I could always rely on someone on the online group to be powering ahead and sharing their progress. They made it feel like failure wasn't an option and that success was definitely possible.
4) Write whenever you get the chance even if it's only for 15 minutes. I calculated I could write 400 words in 15 minutes. Those 15 minutes add up.
5) Plan. I know some people are pantsers but that wouldn't have worked for me. I would have fallen at the first hurdle. So, at the start of NaNoWriMo for every 15 minutes I spent writing, I also spent half an hour planning.
6) Switch it up. When I got stuck or bored or sad (because some of my book was rather harrowing) I looked at my plan and switched to a chapter that looked fun. Whether you're writing crime or romance, sci-fi or historical, there will be certain scenes that inspire you and move your story along. It may be the meet cute or the showdown between the hero and the villain. If you've been carrying the main scenes around with you in your head for a while, they will flow from your fingers when you start to type.
7) Share Your Successes. My family and friends have been rooting for me so it's been great to share my progress with them as I hit different milestones along the way. Their regular requests for updates also helped to motivate me.
In short, everything has aligned to make this November the perfect time to focus on my writing. NaNoWriMo has shown me what I can achieve. Now, I can take that out to any month of the year.
November is always a busy month.
There's Guy Fawkes. There's family birthdays.
There's realising that it's almost Christmas and somehow it has sneaked up on me again. As if that wasn't enough, this November, we booked a trip away in December which means all our Christmas prep needs to be finished by mid December rather than being completed two days before Christmas as usual. Then, I signed up for NaNoWriMo.
Yet, I'm still enjoying NaNoWriMo. I'm enjoying the routine and my word count is climbing every day.
Luckily, I have a very supportive family who mark my achievements in ever more inventive ways. Hence I returned from lunch last week, to a pink star balloon emblazoned with the words: 'Congratulations on the first 24,000 words' and a tub of Quality Street.
My word count is climbing as my balloon is deflating but I smile every time I catch sight of it. It's important to celebrate the milestones and to enjoy the journey.