National Novel Writing Month-or NanoWriMo for short-is a challenge to write 50000 words in the 30 days of November. It’s a hard challenge to complete. I have done it before. I won five times over the years. Last year was one of those, and it was how I got started writing again after so many years away.
This year I won again!
Not only did I hit my 50k, I did it in 15 days, and I finished the book in 22 days, coming in at 59k – blowing through the target by almost 10k. To say I am pleased with myself is an understatement.
Though, I have to admit this was mostly possible because I planned a stay at home holiday for nine days. But regardless of the holiday, it is more than I have ever done in that time in my writing memory (which is, I admit, still a bit short).
I am already looking forward to next year. What can I do to make it smoother, or better, or easier? Did I want to do the same again, write more in less time? What project do I want to do? (Yes, I know it’s a bit early for this, but still it sits in my head. What next?)
So, what have I learned from Nano?
Writing without a plan can be more fun, but it can slow you down – I found that the times I ground to a halt was where my plan was thin, or non-existent. Next year I am going to have more of a plan in place. This year I’d been working on another project right up to the wire and never had time to create my plan.
Timed writing – Writing 1k words of an evening is about the limit to my focus, sometimes sooner, sometimes a little later, but generally around that mark. Writing 4k-5k per day is only possible when I set myself timed writing periods and breaks-1hour writing, 15m-30m break. Sometimes these are called writing sprints, but while I left my phone in another room to avoid distractions, I didn’t do true sprinting where your hands never leave the keyboard. But it worked for me.
I loved it – The challenge of writing this book was a fantastic push and really showed me what I can do if I really want to and have the time.
Right now 5k per day is a top end limit – this could change over the year, but after 4k I really struggled even if the flow was good, there was just not enough chill time to balance the working time.
Don’t look back – In nanowrimo it’s all about looking forward. You don’t stop to edit. Good, or bad, draw a line under it and summarise it if you have to, but just keep writing. I can fix everything in the edit.
What did the month look like in numbers?
You can see the numbers at the start of the month was smaller, I knew I had the time coming up, so I was doing a bit of planning on the side, still working as normal. Then my holidays hit, and the word counts rocket up.
- Nov 23, 2020 – From here on did a few words, plus starting revision on the first Coalition of Seers Novel. But I just stopped counting once I finished the Novel.
- Nov 22, 2020 3844 words – Finished the Book 58,933
- Nov 21, 2020 1051 words
- Nov 20, 2020 500 words
- Nov 19, 2020 820 words
- Nov 18, 2020 1383 words
- Nov 17, 2020 202 words
- Nov 16, 2020 740 words
- Nov 15, 2020 5074 words – Holiday – Won Nano
- Nov 14, 2020 3930 words – Holiday
- Nov 13, 2020 5763 words – Holiday
- Nov 12, 2020 5285 words – Holiday
- Nov 11, 2020 4333 words – Holiday
- Nov 10, 2020 5160 words – Holiday
- Nov 9, 2020 4067 words – Holiday
- Nov 8, 2020 3976 words – Holiday
- Nov 7, 2020 4219 words – Holiday
- Nov 6, 2020 1122 words
- Nov 5, 2020 1249 words
- Nov 4, 2020 1557 words
- Nov 3, 2020 1628 words
- Nov 2, 2020 1599 words
- Nov 1, 2020 1301 words