NaNoWriMo 2009 Recap

Hoo boy, did I ever not make it.  I broke 10k, which was good, but I let myself get distracted by other things, which is bad.  Other things being: work-travel, Under the Dome,Thanksgiving, and frothing at the mouth about Harlequin Horizons/DellArte.  I’m proud as hell of the posts about that fiasco, and intend to do a follow-up or two and expand upon a few points that came up.  But, time spent writing them was time not spent working on my NaNo.

So, I didn’t finish, didn’t even come close, and I’m okay with that; I was from the start.

But what have I learned?

Well, a few things:

  • I really ought to outline. Not as in rigid, scene-by-scene bullet points and Roman numerals.  Just a more structured looking-ahead.  Hill and I checked in every so often on where we were with Nin: what happens in the next few chapters?  How far do we have to go and what needs to happen on the way?  I’ve never done it with my own writing, because, well, that’s a pretty one-sided conversation.  Have to find a good way to start.
  • I probably get more done in the mornings. I’m still training myself to unplug while writing — setting gtalk to “Leave me alone, I’m writin’ here,” resisting the urge to see what the internet is up to when I get stuck on a phrase, etc.  But I’m also more prone to cat vacuuming at night, for some reason, both in meatspace and in the virtual world.
  • Worldbuilding, worldbuilding, worldbuilding. I have this terrible habit of not committing to NaNo until the last week of October, which means I spend time on infodumps in the plot that are going to be cut out later, to the tune of “Oh god I suck.”

Now, my stalling out on NaNo doesn’t mean I didn’t do other writerly things in November.  Matter of fact, I dedicated the time that would’ve been spent on the NaNo stuff to editing Nin this past week.  I started a bit of a character bible for us to refer to, since it has a pretty big cast.

I’ve also been doing a lot of heavy thinking about Grailchild and whether or not it’s the book I should be writing right now.  (The sequel to Nin is a given, that’s in the works already.)  I’m talking more about solo projects, and trying to determine whether my feelings about this book are just general silly jitters about Getting it Right, or whether the fact that I’ve been waffling about it for the better part of six years is a sign that I ought to concentrate on something else.

Another way to ask the same question: have I managed to intimidate myself with the scope of it? I love the characters and the concept.  I know what needs to happen.  So am I disinterested, or just plain lazy?

I’m not quite sure how to answer that, yet, outside of seeing how I feel during Butt in Chair time.  I mean, writing is still happening.  There are other things I’m excited about and working on.  I just feel incredible guilt over the idea of abandoning this particular project yet again.

Enough whining from my camp.  How did the rest of you NaNoers do?  What did you learn over the last month that will carry through while you finish your current projects and start the next ones?  Yes, that’s right.  Writing doesn’t just happen in November and then go away until next year’s NaNo.  Keep writing!

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3 Responses to NaNoWriMo 2009 Recap

  1. Marty says:

    I learned:

    1) Keep writing
    2) Outline and plan more
    3) Handwriting everything helps get the words written, but it is a pain in the ass to retype everything.

  2. Parker Betz says:

    I managed 12,000 words. I was cheating and doing short stories instead of a novel and that left me with three full short stories (one now in final edits) and the start of a fourth. I’m pretty happy with that level of productivity, considering I was also dealing with a heavy load at work and the end of the semester craziness at school.

    I’m setting a goal to finish the 50,000 this month. The things I learned from my speed writing in November are that I need to stop editing while I’m writing and that Write or Die is actually a useful tool for me.

  3. Iris says:

    I managed to actually win NaNo, which totally amazes me, since it is the first time I tried to write something that long, or participate in NaNo.

    What I learned during this one great month:

    1) Writing regularly is a charm. I won’t be doing 2k words per day over the year, that is clear, but writing some every week, even better, every day, is invaluable.

    2) It is better if you do the research *before* you start writing. You know… for next time.

    3) First drafts are rough things. Whoever tells you the writing is the tough part has not yet met the re-writing.

    4) Most of my brilliant ideas come in the shower. Anyone have suggestions for pen and paper that can be used under a stream of hot water?

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