Ok, admittedly this title would make more sense if I had done more than one Nanowrimo post. Mea culpa.
To answer the big question first: No.
I did not manage to write 50k words of a novel in the month of November.
All told – including the stuff I shelved – I got in somewhere between 15k and 16k words.
To me, that doesn’t sound like much, but I’ve done a few 5k and 8k word writing sessions with all of my previous novels. I didn’t get the chance to do that this time around. But then again, I’m not anywhere near done with this book yet. It may still happen, just not in November.
What I did come away with is 7 chapters – so far – and a story and characters I like more and more as I write them.
And, as usual for my writing process, the story expands as I go. Side characters get more interesting and become a larger part of the narrative. Weird ideas pop into my head and I follow them like Alice’s rabbit. All of this is intrinsic to the joy I get from the act of writing. Creative discovery. Problem solving. Learning the story is more than I originally thought it was.
Wonderful things, those. And not things one would wish to rush.
All in all I found participating in Nanowrimo to be a positive experience. There’s a lot to take away from it, chiefly you’re not nearly as prepared as you thought you were – in regards to writing the story full out. But then, if you’re a writer like me, you’re never really prepared, and that’s half the fun.
It’s a worthy experiment to try hitting a word count target every day. I’m not that kind of writer, but it’s a valuable experience to have. It will let you know which type of writer you are, in that regard.
(Personally, I only write every day when I’m deep into the story and the damn thing is pulling me along in its wake. Usually near the last 1/4 – 1/16 of the book. )
I can’t really speak to the community or support that many people talk about when referencing Nanowrimo. I had one writing buddy on the site, and we never really talked. Plus, I tend to be busy. Not a lot of time for me to participate in group writing sessions, or get-togethers, or to peruse the numerous forums, message boards, facebook groups, and various what-have-yous.
But then again, never really having had outside encouragement, I don’t tend to look much for it anymore. The writing itself draws me in – the act of it. Whether or not the scene is working encourages me. (Even if it’s not working, it encourages me, just on a different vector.) The sounds of the keys clacking under my fingers. The sweep of a hand across a writing pad. The way creating something makes me feel. All those things keep me writing.
Don’t get me wrong, it’ll be nice to get paid someday – someday soon, I hope. But that’s not the real reason I do this. And it’s a bit off the Nanowrimo subject.
All experiments teach us something about ourselves, if we have the wherewithal to pay attention to the lesson.
If you’re a writer, Nanowrimo is a worthwhile lesson to learn – for whatever you glean from it.
You’ll glean something from it, of that I am certain.
I know I did.