Nano-Newbie Reports In

Nano Final

 

Well, thank goodness November is over. I just entered my final word count for the month: 61,552 words, about 3/4 of my first draft.

Am I happy? I think so. My brain is numb.

As a newbie to the NaNoWriMo adventure, I didn’t know what to expect. I approached it like I tackle most things in life…jump in with both feet, paddle like mad, and discover I’ve learned to swim by not drowning. I’m panting on the muddy bank after reaching the shore.

What I learned:

1. On the whole, this is an exhausting great experience, and I wouldn’t have written a fraction of these words without the challenge.

2. Preparing the family is key. I think I vacuumed once, did laundry once, and made scrambled eggs for breakfast…once.

3. Love up the spouse/partner – you’re going to owe him or her big-time at the end.

4. Let personal hygiene go. There’s no time for anything beyond brushing one’s teeth.

5. Install a pet door. The critters can walk themselves.

6. Cancel all outside commitments. Invite yourself to someone else’s house for Thanksgiving. Offer to bring cranberry sauce.

7. Give up on all television except The Walking Dead.

8. Prepare and preschedule blog posts, apologize in advance for your absence, thank everyone in the end for still being there.

9. Get the flu. It relieves you of every single remaining responsibility you weren’t able to shirk in good conscience. You get to write in bed all day and everyone feels sorry for you and brings you tea. (Note flu onset 11/14 on graph).

What else I learned:

1. I am a slow slow edit-as-I-go writer (ave. 250 wph). I didn’t enjoy feeling rushed, and writing for me has always been a luxurious experience. If I dedicate another crazy November to Nanowrimo, I don’t think I’ll pay much attention to word count. Why?

NaNo-2015-Winner-Badge-Large-Square2. Because dedicating time to writing, prioritizing creativity and engaging in what we love to do is the point.

3. Participating and writing one word more than we would have otherwise constitutes a true win in my universe. Congrats to all the participants regardless how much you wrote. You are all winners!

Thank you for hanging in there with me.

Aaaah. Back to blogging.

thank you

113 thoughts on “Nano-Newbie Reports In

  1. Cat says:

    I love your lists Diana, made me crack a smile!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Congratulations! What an achievement. This is the first year in 3 I didn’t do it, but I’m going to rectify that next year 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sacha Black says:

    Agree about the time pressure and word count. Cant believe how well you smashed it! That is a CRAZY good achievement. Well done. This made me giggle in a massive way.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. reocochran says:

    Oh my goodness! I have read a few posts about this experience but this one was the Most Real of them!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Congratulations once again, Diana. Nano is a real learning curve one way or another. I haven’t caught up with the housework yet but a little dirt never hurt anyone! Thanks again for buddying up. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. JoAnna says:

    Now I’m glad I didn’t make this my first Na No year. Your tips will help me prepare for next year. Congratulations!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. YEA You! Planning, being realistic, and persistence. Well done

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Widdershins says:

    Bravo, bravo! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Erik says:

    Even had I the inclination, there was no possible way such a thing would have happened in November, since I had my whirlwind move to a new home!

    Glad your “break” was the same time as my “break”! That means I didn’t miss too much. 🙂

    Diana, even in your writing about writing, I’m struck with the fact that you don’t just “write.” You ARE a writer, to the core of your being. I love it.

    And, just like so many hosts after Thanksgiving meal is done who say, “It’s peanut butter and jelly next time” or “I think we’ll just buy a prepared meal from the supermarket next year” … they’ll be right back in that kitchen loving it come next November, and YOU’LL be writing.

    Because it’s who you are.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That sounds like a challenge, Erik! Ha ha. I will probably do it again, but to be honest, I really won’t stress about the word count. That’s good practice for me as a human – honoring my own pace and maintaining balance. I tend to push myself until my body says “enough” and I get sick, usually for weeks. So another life lesson that I am trying hard to learn. Hold me to that next year, my friend. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Love the take-aways. This sounds daunting.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Susan says:

    Congrats. Your write about your experiences is LOL funny. I don’t think I am up to that yet. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Too funny, Diana!! Wow…incredible! So proud of you and that great list! Congratulations!!!!

    Liked by 3 people

  13. balroop2013 says:

    Ha ha! That was fun reading! Congratulations Diana, I am glad you have written soooo much in a month!!
    Taking up such a challenge is in itself a GREAT effort. I always avoid such challenges or prompts because I like to write at leisure and when I push myself I end up against a wall.
    The strategies you have mentioned are fabulous…I loved them.
    Thanks for sharing your hard moments in such a light-hearted manner.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I LOVE-LOVE-LOVE this list!!!! Made me laugh, but it’s absolutely true. (The flu really does help—and you have the graph to prove it.) You’ve got an exquisite sense of humor, and I’ll be back for more 🙂

    Thanks for coming over to Damyanti’s blog for my guest post… Lovely comment, much appreciated.
    Guilie @ Quiet Laughter

    Liked by 3 people

  15. Woot! I considered doing it this year, then all my imaginary friends abandoned me. Hard to write when your characters won’t speak to you !

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Reblogged this on Musings on Life & Experience and commented:
    Wise and humorous words.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Misheal Crocker says:

    Awesome work! I’m a seasoned vet when it comes to NaNoWriMo. I’ve done it every year from 2009 – 2014. I even lead the charge for the entire region that I live in working as an ML. This year was the first year I skipped the program.

    I can honestly say that I got a lot of great things from that NaNoWriMo experience. It taught me that I can actually write a novel because I originally had doubts about reaching that sort of length. Then it taught me to embrace ideas and run with them and that I can discipline my mind to focus on one story and to write pretty much daily no matter what is going on in my life. One year I changed jobs (in retail), moved house, worked as an ML and worked on a masters degree all at the same time. The year was a horror story. I wrote words but nothing workable that year.

    Over all I’ve concluded that Nano is good in doses. The program pushes you and can teach you a lot of things but some times that push is too much. My muses were bulking at the idea of Nano and I knew another year of it would not do me any favors so I opted out and decided to write what I could as I so wished and I got a fair bit done. Not to mention I feel my muses thanked me for the vacation as I stumbled upon an idea for another novel that if I were doing Nano I doubt I would have discovered.

    Over all I think over all NaNo is from some and not for others and you always have to write and do what is best for you and your writing. That being said I think National Novel Writing Month is a worthy experience that many should take up at least once in their life. So congrats again on getting so much written and on your fist ever NaNo win!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks so much, Misheal, for the comment and for your support of writers in NaNoWriMo as an ML. If there’s one thing I can say about the team of people cheerleading the event, it’s that they are enthusiastic! You sound like a writing Wonderwoman 🙂

      I’m a disciplined writer as it is, and over the years, I’ve settled into a rhythm that works well for me. I’m not at all sorry about participating but won’t know whether the word count push was worth it until I revisit my draft. If it needs massive revisions then it’s probably better for me to return to my careful pace.

      That said, Nano will still work for me in the future if I relax on the word count. It’s a great community and I enjoyed buddying with other writers to cheer them on. And it definitely pushed me to set aside more HOURS for writing, which was great. That’s where I struggle, creating the time, and Nano was excellent at giving me that. Thanks again for the comment and the great experience…despite the flu 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Wow over 61,000 words, congrats!! I started nanowrimo this year, but didn’t make it past day one! I felt too much stress about HAVING to write that I couldn’t think of anything… maybe next year!

    Liked by 2 people

    • There is a lot of pressure, although I put most of the pressure on myself. Being really prepared helped, but still… If I do it again next year, I won’t worry about the word count or posting every day or anything – just enjoy the opportunity to write. We’ll have to start an informal group of no-pressure writers 😀

      Liked by 2 people

  19. LOL your advice list made me laugh. I wish I could just put my life on pause. My household would collapse lol. For me, I write/type very quickly, as I started learning at 9 years old. I type and think simultaneously (most of the time) so writing quickly is easy. It’s the editing that takes forever and bogs me down. So I prefer to sit and write for at least an hour to two hours and it’s difficult if I have to pause but…such is life. I’ve gotten used to short burst writing recently.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Definitely what I learned too! Congrats! 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Big congratulations for making it through and being so successful! I love your list it sounds very consuming! I had to laugh!!

    Liked by 3 people

  22. Steven Baird says:

    Congratulations! And now on to the fun part… the edit and revision. 🙂 A great accomplishment.

    Liked by 3 people

  23. Congrats, Diana! At least now you know what doesn’t work for you. For me, the combination of vomiting the first draft out and forced writing every day works. I need a habit boost this time of year, so I can get back into the habit of writing every day. I slack during the summer due to garden tending, but dammit, I’m going to do a smaller garden next year. Still slogging through my first deep revision, but things are picking up. I think after I get through the middle muddle, it’s easier. And boo on the flu. Got my shot a couple months ago and crossing my fingers that it works.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thanks, Julie. You did great as well, though I sensed some tension between you and your muse there in the middle! I tend to write every day anyway, but the kick in the pants was helpful. I’ll get the first draft done in January, and that wouldn’t have happened without the challenge! 😀

      Liked by 2 people

    • I agree, getting it down quick and messy is very helpful to me. Even in paragraph outline form. It helps immensely if I know where the story is going. Then I can sit on it, and come back and fill in later with (hopefully) decent writing lol

      Liked by 3 people

      • I love how everyone finds their own style and rhythm. I usually edit as I go, so my progress is very slow. This no-edit pace will probably require an additional draft beyond my normal method. But it’s all good. All a learning experience. 😀

        Liked by 2 people

        • I think you’re right. It’s important to find your own style. What works for you doesn’t work for other people. The problem was, for years and years, I would edit as I go and I would never end up finishing anything. I probably started a half dozen good stories between 15 and 25 yrs of age. But after doing some research and joining a few great writing advice groups, I noticed that a lot of people recommend just getting a first draft out and down on paper so that you can go back later make it work. But I think as I become a better writer, and actually make it a profession, I will probably do more editing as I go just so I don’t have to deal with so many drafts. Yes, I have an average of 6 drafts per project. Mind you they’re not all ‘complete’ beginning to end drafts…

          Liked by 1 person

          • Even I recommend getting that first draft down before editing! I did that for my books in the beginning and it was important. Gradually, with some experience and a bit more skill, I have changed my approach. So you are right, not only do we all have different ways of writing, we change over time. I love this stuff. What a fun thing to do 😀

            Liked by 1 person

  24. Wait, you brushed your teeth during NaNo? For shame! And I thought you were focused!

    Oh, and a big congrats to you!

    Liked by 4 people

  25. joannesisco says:

    Actually, I’m in awe of anyone who can pull a story out of their imagination – regardless of the word count. I simply can’t imagine!

    Congratulations – you obviously found a creative wave and rode it long and hard. I bow to you 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Carrie Rubin says:

    Congratulations! Very impressive outcome. And to think you had the flu during it. How miserable. Maybe you were able to channel that sickness into one of your characters. An illness to go toward his or her characterization. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Annika Perry says:

    WOW!! 🎉 Congratulations Diana – time to do a celebratory dance around the room. 😀That is a massive achievement, not only to reach 50,000 but to truly smash it. It must feel amazing to have completed so much of your first draft. Will you take a well-earned rest now or continue working at this pace to finish it quickly? You sum up the whole experience brilliantly, the highs, the lows, the creative v. number dilemma. Well done again and it is lovely to have you back doing regular blogging.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks, Annika. I’ll finish, of course, but at a more comfortable pace, probably in January when things slow down. All good. I’m glad I tried it and I’m glad it’s done! Ha ha. And so nice to be blogging without the pressure 😀

      Liked by 3 people

  28. Congratulations, Diana. You hit the nail on the head with your lists, but phooey on the flu. That had to be awful. You deserve a break. A Facebook friend told me when I had finished that I could have Thanksgiving after all! LOL You can start all over when NaNo has Summer Camp. You pick your word count. (I think) Not me! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  29. ghostmmnc says:

    Congratulations on sticking with it and finishing, even through the flu days! 🙂 Hope you’re feeling much better.

    Liked by 2 people

  30. Ocean Bream says:

    Sounds like you had an amazing whirlwind of a journey and congratulations on finishing this NanoWrimo! 😀 Definitely an achievement, and thanks for sharing your great personal insights.

    Liked by 2 people

  31. orangepondconnects says:

    Congrats 😀 You did awesome! Though I didn’t make the word count goal, I’m still glad I gave it a chance. (Oh, and I liked your number 7 😉 That mid-season finale had me screaming at the T.V.)

    Liked by 3 people

    • #7 was for you and a couple other blog buds who are fans. 😀 You’re a WINNER anyway. I can’t imagine even attempting it with kids in the house! Yikes.

      Liked by 2 people

      • orangepondconnects says:

        Ha ha! Yes, my kids (as lovely as they can sometimes be) didn’t put their tattling and occasional yelling and hair-pulling aside for a month so Mommy could write in peace 🙂 ( And now we must wait till Feb. 14th for The Walking Dead to come back! Ugh! What am I going to do with my Sunday nights now! lol)

        Liked by 1 person

  32. LOL 🙂 Congratulations. 🙂 Hoping to join next year. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  33. Congratulations, all that pressure sounds pretty tough! You need to spend some time basking in the glory of your accomplishment. .and maybe a nap too 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  34. You did good, but I think you could now do with a spa day.

    Liked by 3 people

  35. philipparees says:

    I did it last year, and the forced pace ruined a very good story. I managed 50K words and still cannot evaluate them. I agree one feels an accomplishment, but not really sure what of? Discipline ( but when I am on a role I can do that anyway) being part of a movement? Never really sought that or known how to enjoy it. I suppose I just sank back relieved it was over. But I congratulate you on doing it differently! And finding an additional reason for Thanksgiving!

    Liked by 3 people

  36. Nurse Kelly says:

    LOL! Sounds like more positives came from it than negatives, though!Guess you’ll find out soon enough how you feel about doing it again, when next November rolls around! Lord knows, it will be here before we know it! Happy December! xo

    Liked by 2 people

    • Don’t say that, Kelly. I’ll have to start my time-slowing tricks. I don’t know if I’ll do nano again. Besides wearing myself out. I also didn’t exercise for a month. That started that up again this morning! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • Nurse Kelly says:

        Well, even if you don’t, you accomplished a huge goal – you stayed the course and that’s really inspirational. Not to mention how productive you were! I know what you mean about writing and exercise – it can be hazardous to one’s health if we don’t prioritize movement! Hope you have a lovely day 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  37. Well done on getting 3/4 of your draft written… now go and take a shower!

    Liked by 2 people

  38. “Offer to bring cranberry sauce” – canned, I assume? 🙂

    The things you’ve learned are the reason why I haven’t participated. I use writing to unwind, and forcing it seems plain wrong.

    Liked by 4 people

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