Not An Epic Success, But Still

So I didn't reach the goal. I didn't write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November, as part of NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. But I did write 33,637 words and seven chapters of my very first novel in one month, which I am more than happy with. It's probably the longest piece of work I've ever written, and although I haven't yet gone back to re-read it to see how it turned out, I feel as though I learned some things:

  • Trying to write a novel in a month makes you unbelievably more efficient at doing other things, such as replying to emails, ordering groceries, and shockingly for me, being able to get out of bed earlier on a Saturday or Sunday. 
  • It is fun to change fonts, but it doesn't cure writer's block or make you write any better.
  • It was easier to get scenes written when I slowed down and tried not to rush, letting everything unfold in a leisurely manner. I wanted to treat it like a race, but that didn't work.
  • The way you think the story will unfold is often not how it does. I didn't really have a true plot at first (even though I thought I did), and the only way I came up with one was by just letting the characters and the situation develop.
  • For me, it was very difficult to get anything done on a workday. I was just too spent by the evening and I often get up early to get my paid work done with a clear head, so there was no time in the early morning. If it's essential to write every single day to become a better writer, then I'm going to have to set a very low word count goal, like 100-200 words, or a short time frame, like 30 minutes. But writing for a few hours on a Saturday or Sunday morning was most satisfying and it was much easier to get into a rhythm. Maybe I can be a weekend writer?
  • Stale strawberry Twizzlers taste remarkably good when the alternative is writing another 1,000 words.
I am still planning to finish my first novel attempt. And I should probably set a goal to keep moving it ahead, although I still haven't quite decided what this will be. I think for now I need to get started on my Christmas shopping. Also, I spent a lot of time sitting in November, and especially toward the end I let things like my yoga classes slide (oops), which I find is not good for my state of mind, particularly at this time of year when it's only light for what seems like a few hours a day. But the good news is how little pain my sedentary month caused. I can't wait to tell Super Physio when I go for a check in later this month, how well my neck/shoulders/back help up under the strain of trying to write a novel in a month. It just goes to show that with being stronger and my posture fixed, my recent pain flare ups may be linked more to stress than anything else. Yet another thing I learned this past month.

But the most important thing I learned doing NaNoWriMo was that I actually enjoyed trying to write a novel. Whether it's any good, is another story, but at least I enjoyed the process, which is encouraging.

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