NaNoWriMo 2018 Review

This years NaNoWriMo was a big success for me. I wrote 53,080 words all in all on my NaNoWriMo project. That’s an average of 1769 words per day.

I was above target every day of the month, especially early on when I had some time off from my day job that allowed me to get some good words down and get ahead of target. My best day was the 7th and that was a 4159 words that day. (I also wrote 580 words on PE3 that day as well, so in all 4739 words that day). The 17th was my lowest word day at 350 words for the day, but by that point I was a couple of days ahead and was able to afford a low word count that day and a few others.

This was my eighth NaNo and I do consider myself a veteran. This was my fourth win, but the first time I didn’t try to write a novel. Instead I wrote what I planned to be a collection of short stories. I started off with fourteen or fifteen ideas and ended with nineteen in all and worked on ten of those nineteen, and have ten stories I need to work on in the future. A couple are completed while others are not close to being wrapped up. Although I planned on short stories I think a majority of them will end up being at least novelettes and maybe a couple will stretch to novella length pieces. So I’ve got lots to work with going forward.

That’s one of the reasons why I’m viewing NaNo 2018 as a success for me. Another reason is I wrote everyday despite some days it being a torturous act, those were the low word count days. That was one of my goals for the month. Even if I did get ahead I still wanted to write everyday and try to make it a habit. I knew there was a good chance I would hit the 50k. Last year I didn’t because of real life weighing in but I was taking that into account for this year and something happening to derail my writing time was something that I was acutely aware of. Thankfully that didn’t happen and I was able to write on without anything seriously sidetracking me.

A big reason I decided on a short story collection was because in previous years I’ve got to a certain point in the story and hit a brick wall, hard. That would derail my NaNo and I’d have to figure out how to get past the wall while still trying to hit word count for the day. I’ve learnt over the last year that I write well when I’ve got a couple of projects on the go and can jump between them. So using that logic worked out really well for me. When I got stuck on one, I could jump straight into another one. Some were very hard on me as they had a lot of darkness and in some cases depravity. While another story had a scene where a popular character died and it was really hard to write the discovery of the body and then how this characters friends were dealing with the loss. While A couple of the stories were just fun!

Winning NaNo is defined by hitting 50,000 words, but to me thats not the only way to win NaNo. You win NaNo but just writing. Some people are not able to knock out that many words in 30 days, while others can smash it out in a day or two. For me it’s about getting words down and not going over them. It’s about getting the story told. It doesn’t matter if you write 50k or 5k. Just write.

Another goal I had was to be more proactive in my local NaNo region. I wanted to host write-ins, I wanted to be positive and supportive of the Kent NaNoWriMo community. They’ve been so good to me in the eight years I’ve been a member of the group, especially the previous five years where I’ve been active in the group. This year I really wanted to step up. I think I hosted nine write-ins, actually I think it was ten in the end. I tried to be helpful and encouraging in the Facebook group. I needed to do more on the actual NaNo website itself, but that I’ll do next year.

I didn’t just add words to my NaNoWriMo project though. I wrote, in total, 55,035 words during November. So I added 1955 on PE3 during the month. Granted, those words were a snippet here and there and that was about it. Nothing really solid was done on PE3, but I got some good foundation laid down and then have began to build on it this month.

All in all, NaNoWriMo 2018 was a big success for me. I wrote some good words, I spent time at Write-Ins with great people. I interacted on social media with more great people and was part of a fantastic community that all gather to try and smash out 50,000 words in thirty days.

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