Better late than never :) Overall, I’d say NaNoWriMo this year was a success, even if I didn’t get the winner’s badge. My wordcount was a far cry better than last year, and it’s encouraging to know that I do actually have the ability to wrap my brain around writing in long from. So my conclusions from this year:
2010 Final Wordcount: 32,853 (2009 was less than 8k.)
Crappy Working Title: The Current War
Blurb: (in case you missed it here)
Harolyn Flynn’s life is not an easy one, but it is rarely complex, and she likes to keep it that way. From street urchin, to petty thief, to accomplished smuggler elbowing her way into the ranks of the big boys, she has survived by her wits and the strength of her will. And if she happens to be running from a past she would rather forget, nobody yet has been the wiser…
Until the day a rival intent on revenge inadvertently lands her in the middle of political intrigue, and a manhunt that will threaten to expose everything she’s hidden, and then some, and throw her carefully constructed life into chaos.
What I Learned This Year
- The level of story planning I did this year gave me a huge advantage. There was a noticable difference in my motivation this year compared to last (for which I did virtually no planning).
- Having a friend along for the ride was a nice bit of motivation.
- No internet (as was the case for the majority of the month :/) = significantly less distraction, but my brain is still perfectly capable of coming up with alternate means of distraction. -.-
- “Write after work or during the day after waking; proceed until braindead or too sleep-depped to continue” is not a writing schedule conducive to avoiding burnout, or to having any sort of life whatsoever.
- The Thanksgiving holiday and female-body-induced downtime murderize my writing momentum when they are not properly accounted/prepared for.
- Simple forms of mental stimulation help me focus. (In this case, a couple games of Freecell before I start writing; puzzle solving gets the gears turning, but is uncomplicated enough that I don’t get sucked into it for hours.)
- I have lots of words in me! O.O I haven’t written so much in many many years, if ever. I think I’m still much more comfortable with short stories than novelling, but most likely it’s because I’ve attempted it so rarely, and have only ever finished a fraction of what I started. :p
Some Goals for Next Year’s NaNoWriMo
- Set down a concrete schedule for writing and stick to it. Maybe 2-3 hours/night on work nights, and 1-2 on weekends, or something like that. Hopefully this will make my time writing more productive and help avoid burnout.
- Conversely, make sure there’s downtime. Take time to read actual literary material (as opposed to internet stuff), watch some tv, play video games, whatever. Maybe alot a certain amount/block of time, or a set number of chapters/episodes/levers/etc.
- Minimize distractions as much as possible during scheduled writing sessions: put the phone away or turn it off, no tv, have music ready beforehand so I’m not tempted to mess with it when I should be writing, etc.
- Maybe start planning a little earlier (six weeks instead of four?), so there’s more time for getting to know the characters and setting through vignettes and flash fiction.
- Make it to at least one or two of the official “NaNolanta” write-ins, and arrange my own if I have friends taking part again.
Now I’m almost 33k words into a story that is much bigger than I had originally intended it to be. I’m going to keep plugging away at it, and hopefully be able to finish it sometime early next year. Of course, now I’ve got the writing bug again, and want to write ALL THE THINGS. I’m going to make a list of all the recent ideas/projects and work on prioritizing everything. Off the top of my head, I can think of four long/-ish projects (this year’s NaNo story and last years, “Parthia Answered,” as well as “Hollow/Hollow World” and “Legend of the Mahuizoh” from this list), and two short ones (“Saddle Brother” and “Tochtli’s Gamble with Teoxihuatl of the Moon”) that I would like to work on, and there are most definitely more, some partially developed and many lines of conceptual notes in various notebooks. My friend Serge (my NaNo writing partner) has already brought up the possibility of doing regular writing/brainstorming sessions too, which could be fun, and help keep motivation up until next November.