NaNoWriMo 2011 – From Week Two to the End

NaNoWriMo 2011 week two, or as I shall hereby refer to the 45th week of 2011, ‘ The week that won it’.

I’m sure you can guess why, if you can’t, or even if you can because I want to show off, as of Sunday 13th November I hit 50,000 words (50,443 to be precise). Can’t validate until the 25th November, but still after falling short two years running, to hit a second week finish feels great.

I can tell you, it was quite a buzz to hit the 50,000 mark, and I didn’t stop there. Week three saw me push on with the aim of hitting 75,000 words, including “The end.” Want to know how that went? Well I did that too. Though, it was a bittersweet second victory, someone I loved dearly passed away on the Saturday, and I contemplated on just stopping with 8,846 words still to go. That wasn’t the memory I wanted to have of someone I love passing, and though it was a slog, I finished at 75,114 on day 21.

So, the last step of the immediate NaNoWriMo process is to validate your win. And I did.


So there you go – I officially win this year’s NaNoWriMo. I have a badge to prove it.

However, I have decided that there is more to NaNoWriMo than simply writing 50,000 words though – that’s goal number one, with a couple of sub-goals that are worth noting. Below I’ve listed important steps in the writing process as I see them right now, (I reserve the right to grow as a writer and evolve these later*).

 


  1. Write a 50,000 word novel (or the start of a novel), in the month of December. Achieve that one day moment – one day I’ll write a book.
    Be inspired – be creative, imaginative, and push your comfort zone.
    • Partake in a vibrant community of local and international aspiring and published authors.
    • Finish your novel – if it’s precisely 50,000 great stuff, of it’s not use the momentum to get you there whether it’s by the end of November, or December, our however long it takes.
  2. Learn to edit after you’re finished – if you edit during you’ll be lost in no time, even if you make it to the end, you’re edits may be wasted when you properly edit.
  3. Decide where to go from here – if you think your manuscript is good enough, do you try to submit to publishers, try self-publishing (which is a lot easier with fewer risks these days with e-publishing), do you share it with the world online, privately with friends, or keep it just to yourself. Basically, review, research, decide.

I’m completed stage 1, and I’m enjoying 1A, and hopefully will still do so after November is over, and of course I’ve completed 1b.

I’ve found of late how I write and what I write has changed a lot. Not just big changes like the conscious decision to plan this year, but down to the dropping of attempted dialect and accents, little things like marginally improved use of the English language as well. However, I don’t generally finish stories before I run out of steam, disappear, then come back and write a new idea. This year has seen a change in that, I made it through an extended story to the finish of that story, with the marginally improved English (except for random paragraph breaks in the middle of sentences, and words my phone’s autocorrect gave up on and so on), better structure through planning and things like that. So, if I’m to continue the process of evolving it’s time to look at stage 2 and edit the damn thing.

Okay, in fairness to myself I’ve tried editing before. It’s usually what I do when inevitably I’ve gotten lost with what I was writing. I basically do it too early normally, and it’s to change things to get it going again (which it doesn’t because then I lose all momentum completely). This time though, I’m going to try and do it right. I’ll go into details in a subsequent post on here, as to how that right will actually work – at the moment having hit the end of the story I’m on a break. I need some time to deal with things, and also to read a book called How NOT to Write a Novel: 200 Mistakes to avoid at All Costs if You Ever Want to Get Published by Howard Mittelmark and Sandra Newman. It’s a good book, there are things I wouldn’t do anyway, but there are also things I’ve decided I don’t want to think about before or during writing, but as a guide of things to change in my project during editing it is going to be invaluable. Especially if I decide to go down any form of sharing route once I make it through to stage 3 after editing my novel.

Anyway, editing won’t happen until around the start of the New Year. Give me a break from the novel, and will allow me to read mistakes, and not read over them while what should be there is still fresh in my mind. Instead, when I’m feeling like writing again, I’m going to make my way through a couple of short stories (maybe 25,000 words each, but depends how they go), one of them is a new project I came up with during NaNo, the other is one I’ve restarted twice already. The old project I’m really going to work hard on nailing, as I think it’s a fascinating little piece, and deserves finally getting a finish to it.

2011 has been a mostly shit year, and continues to be – but I’ll always have that win, and hopefully I’ll always have at least a few of the friends I’ve made on doing NaNoWriMo this time round.

 

But before I go… here’s a ridiculous complex chart of my various targets and progress through NaNoWriMo this year:

 


I’ll do a proper stats post later; I have stats coming out of every pore right now with NaNoWriMo. This one contains all the salient information really in one place. If you know what you’re looking at this is a handy visual guide to how NaNoWriMo is going for you. A quick explanation:

 

The dark green line is the 50k target of NaNoWriMo originally, the bright red line at the top is where it switched to being 75k once I’d hit the 50k.

 

The dark purple bars are my actual word count, while the red line at the bottom are the words per day I actually achieved. The light purple area at the bottom meanwhile is the words per day I originally scheduled for myself, (and rescheduled once I hit 50k).

The brown line is what I actually rescheduled for myself at the beginning of NaNo (and reschedules from 50k onwards). I’m happy to report, for once my over ambitious scheduling was somewhat more comfortable than I’d expected, especially after I had a sluggish start.

The turquoise line was my very first schedule, which was over ambitious at the start, I felt, but was designed to push me has high as possible early on, in case I lost momentum later. It wasn’t reforecast, and so stayed at a 50k end.

The blue line is the new goal after hitting 50k, which gives you an idea where you need to be doing the 75k each day if you actually spread it out over the month.

Last the grey line amounts to a trend, based on performance where I could have ended up had I not stopped and maintained the pace. This changed constantly throughout the month depending on good and bad periods. At the point I stopped, had I not stopped I should have breached 100k easily (indeed since I did 75k in three weeks, the extra week should have gotten 100k, with a couple of days left over).

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