Wednesday, November 24, 2010

On the Wrong Side of the Finish Line

In less than a week, November will be over and NaNo 2010 will be a thing of the past. Congrats to this year’s winners!

To the rest of us, it’s okay.

Last year, I was one of the winners. On November 30th, I looked at my 50k manuscript and smiled, dreaming of a bright future for the two of us. This year, I kicked off the month with those same stars in my eyes. I changed my idea after the first week. In the second week as I sat staring at a mountain of homework and my tiny 3k manuscript, I knew then I wasn’t going to make it. By the third week, I had officially decided that NaNo 2010 was not meant to be for me.

And I’m fine with that. Because I have two ideas and 3,000 words that will eventually turn into something grander.

Don’t get me wrong, winning NaNo is amazing. But the important thing is to have fun writing and to punch out those words like it’s 2012. Anyone who even attempts NaNo is incredible in my book. You tried and even if you didn’t finish, you DID start a novel. A lot of people can never say that. Does it really matter if you write “The End” on November 30th or February 22nd?

So instead of concentrating on “losing” NaNo, concentrate on learning something. Did you learn that paranormal space operas with a romantic twist aren’t really your thing? Did you learn that you are actually quite good with outlining? Did you learn a new way to approach character development, or how to pace the beginning of a story, or how to keep your middle from sagging? So, instead of worrying about winning, worry about learning and having fun.

Even if you’re 40,000 words behind, keep your chin up and keep writing. Because these words you’re writing may be the basis of your next novel, whether it’s your first or your twelfth.

Win or lose, what did you learn from NaNoWriMo 2010?

7 comments:

J.S. Wood said...

NaNo - I think I got 2k this year. Life happens and sometimes we have to go with the flow. That's what I got out of this year's NaNo.

Great post!!

Leah said...

I'm sitting pretty at 45,035 words currently. I have no doubt that I will finish, by/during the weekend.

But I definitely feel you. I didn't even come CLOSE to finishing NaNo last year because I changed the idea at about 16k words.

But what I love most about NaNo is it gets me to write. I had been in a funk for a long time (some 6-10 months without writing anything) and now I've cranked out 10k in a single day. It was just the jump start I needed.

Becca said...

I'm at about 3k too. Only I didn't get distracted, I got stuck. But at least I'm not alone.

Jamie B said...

I've got about 28k on mine, so finishing before the 30th is a far far stretch that I probably won't make. Congrats on finishing Leah! Great first post Rachael! :)

Krista Ashe said...

For the second year in a row, I've done "Nanoish" word counts before actual NaNo, lol. In Sept last year, I did 36K and then last month, I did about 40K. So by the time NaNO comes around, I'm worn out!!! Le sigh. I'll probably end up getting 10K between the two WIPS I'm pinging between, lol.

Abby Minard said...

What a great post- it doesn't matter whether we finish in 30 days or not- it just matters that we tried, and even continue writing! I finished my NaNo goal- which was just finishing the rest of my book. I did 15k and was done! And it didn't take me all month. So even though I didn't "win", I won in my mind! Now, on to edits!

Debra D. said...

I've only known about NaNo for two years, and both years I've been revising so didn't get to play. I'm insanely jealous of any of you who attempted NaNo, regardless of word count!

Awesome post about finding the positives in any NaNo experience! :)