RTW: NaNoWriMo

This week’s topic

Are you doing NaNoWriMo, or have you ever? Does having a deadline inspire you?

Anyone involved in the education system, be it school or university, can attest to the fact that November is one of the worst months. Everything happens in November in a mad rash before the Christmas holidays. Yes, I have done NaNoWriMo twice and never been able to write more than 35k words despite monumental effort.

My first attempt at NaNo went better than expected and resulted in a manuscript I didn’t hate. I finished writing it even after November 30th had rolled around. After several rounds of revisions, I submitted the novel on a whim to an editor and Voila! Less than a year later it was published! My first novel Dragon’s Teeth could be considered a NaNo success story I guess.

My second NaNo attempt didn’t go as well but the ms I ended up with provided me with a cast of characters, which through a series of revisions over several months, morphed into the story that is currently on submission with my agent.

Will I do NaNoWriMo this year? Probably not since I’m already at 55k words on an ms I started about 6 weeks ago. I plan to have this novel finished and polished before the end of the year so I’m not going to jeopardise that by trying to squeeze out a Shiny New Idea in November.

The verdict? NaNoWriMo is definitely worth all the stress and furious typing and sore fingers and lack of social life. Even if you don’t hit that 50k mark, the writing is never wasted and either serves as practice for something better or lays the foundation for a workable ms. I don’t particularly like deadlines but I do work better under pressure and often set myself mini deadlines to make sure I actually get into gear and finish writing projects. My experience in NaNo has also taught me the value of outlining and having a plan so I’m now a hybrid pantser-plotter.

What are you feelings about NaNoWriMo?

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