Reflections on NaNoWriMo

I wanted to wait a little bit before I talked about NaNoWriMo, mainly because I was so burnt out. Writing a 50,000 word+ novel in thirty days really is quite a feat, and it zapped me of most of my time and energy and… everything else.

At the beginning of the month, I felt pretty good. I felt good about my plot, my characters, etc. This continued until probably halfway through the month, when I realized that I had been a little blinded by the excitement of the whole thing, and that what I was writing was absolute crap. I probably had the worst plot ever, and my characters were about as three-dimensional as cardboard.

But that’s okay.

It would’ve been nice to have this absolutely beautiful, wonderfully, well-written piece of literature to have been produced, but it was enough that I finished. I won with 51,818 words. The whole purpose of this is to focus on quantity, not quality, and just getting that awful first draft out of the way and done. And fast.

I don’t know what exactly I’m going to be doing with this novel. Its title is Murky Waters, and I think I’ll always be proud of it, since it is the first novel I’ve ever written (and hopefully not my last as I hope to participate in many more NaNos!). It needs a ton of work, though. I’m not sure if it’s worth the time and effort to keep working on it. I’m thinking I might just give myself some space from it, since I’ve had absolutely none for the last month or so. I think I might give it one quick edit over Christmas break when I don’t have too many other obligations and I think I will leave it at that.

CreateSpace has been kind enough to offer to all winners of NaNoWriMo 2011 five free paperback copies of their book. I’m going to take up the offer (because how cool is it to see my name as the author of a book! :P) but I’m not sure if I want to share my novel with anyone. I did NaNoWriMo more for the experience, not for having a novel that I want to make public. I know that Andrew wants to read it, but I haven’t decided past that if I’ll share it to anyone else. I’ll decide that when I’ve done a bit of editing. In a way, I just want to keep it to myself. A close little something that only I can really appreciate.

Overall, NaNoWriMo has been an awesome experience. My senior year of high school has been my busiest, and yet I still managed to write a novel in between homework, projects, clubs, sports, church, Thanksgiving, shopping, and time spent with friends and family. I guess I could say that I learned if you really want to accomplish something, you can get it done as long as you focus and prioritize. This is my second year participating, and my first year winning. The difference is I just had a lot more perseverance and determination. I really wanted to win. I look forward to next year’s NaNo since I’ve won this year, though I am a little more nervous since it will be my first year in college. But like I said, if I focus and prioritize, I can do it, even if it’s 50,000 words of garbage. 8)

Any other NaNo winners out there? Did you participate? If not, I’d suggest you try it next year! As they say, you’ve got a story just waiting to be told. :)

5 thoughts on “Reflections on NaNoWriMo”

  1. Congrats on winning! If it hadn’t have been for work and whatnot (and if I had a reliable source of Internet access), I would have been able to actually participate in the NaNoWriMo event/thing. However, I did try participating in it on my own, and I stopped at 5000 words when I realized I was just rambling and ranting about my life (and actually feeling sorry for whomever it was about, only to realize it was about me).

    Heh. P:

  2. Some of the pine cones we hang on the tree and the rest go on the mantel above the fireplace or on the piano. Baking is fun! Gingerbread cookies are the highlight of Christmas baking, for me. :P
    I’ve only done Script Frenzy one year so far (this will be my second time) and it’s actually pretty cool – but I don’t have the formatting down 100% yet. :P It’s a bit confusing, but I’ve been looking it up so when April rolls around I’ll be ready.
    Well, if you’re not going to be trying to publish the novel, haha, it’s okay if it’s not the best thing ever – at least you got it done, which is definitely something to be proud of! :D

  3. Congratulations on winning! That’s so exciting :love: I don’t think you should expect too much from yourself when you’re writing a novel in a month. You simply don’t have the time to twist your plot and flesh out your characters. Like you said, merely finishing it is a huge accomplishment! :)

    I think I’ll join in next year, see what I can make of it! :P

  4. I think it is smart to do something in life that is just for you. I should probably find some things like that of my own. For me it would be knowing where someone ends and I begin.
    Yes, I agree perseverance can get you to your goal. I’m a bit of a scaredy-cat so I’m really trying to drill that into myself.

    It turns out that was the problem all along. My backups were being saved to my website. I’m so glad you posted that comment or I might have been lost for a long time in that puzzle.

    I’m also reading Pride and Prejudice right now! To funny. I read the beginning of it like a year ago but it seems like I never picked it up at all. I’m totally in love with the book.
    It sounds like you are going to wait to see BBC’s version of Emma? Friend to friend, I don’t think I liked Hollywood’s version near as much as I liked BBC’s versions.
    If you do watch BBC’s versions I suggest you see the older one first, with Kate Beckinsale and then watch the recent one with Romola Garai.
    Happy reading!

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