Saturday, December 1, 2012

Journey to 50,000 words

I finished NaNoWriMo for the first time. After failing the first two attempts and never finishing any of my WIPs I lost confidence in myself as I writer. With all of that on top of college and rehearsals I wasn't sure if I could do it at all. So this year I made a real effort to finish. The first thing I did was made sure everyone knew what I was going through so I would not back down. A lot of my friends were constantly supportive and asking about my progress. My internet buddies were also a big support group. Without their constant support and cheering I probably would not have finished. I lost some twiter follower this month because I tweeted my word count everyday. I'm over it.
If you weren't following my NaNoWriMo Chronicles here is what you missed:
I managed to keep up the pace for the first week and a half. I fell behind a little during week two but once Thanksgiving break started I was kicking it into overdrive. I wrote between 2,500-5,000 words a day that week. My family was really supportive during that week. Eventually I got to a point in my writing where I was comfortable enough to attempt to finish it a week early. When I hit the 50,000 words I stopped there. I realized that I had no ending, but I was okay with that. The goal was 50,000 words and I reached it and I really needed a break. I'm glad I had it because the last week of November was crazy hectic for me.

Things I learned from NaNoWriMo that I can take to my everyday writing:
1. Plan: For a long time I thought I was a pantser. That's how I approached all of my WIPs and I never finished. Since I was so determined to finish within the frame I needed to know what I wanted to do, where I wanted to go and how I was going to get there. Obviously I did not follow it 100% but I had a clear idea of of the the book I wanted to write.
50,00 words and a finished charm bracelet from my ML
2. Dare to suck: seriously while my inner editor was still peering over my shoulder at sometimes I just had to tell it to shut up and use write. Sometimes I has sentences like "I went to the door and opened it." Seriously, it's awful, just like first drafts should be. I'm okay with that. that is what revisions are for.
3. Write everyday: Even when I was busy I manged to get the bare minimum or a little less. I never stopped written even when I was ahead. There were times while writing were I felt the scene was going nowhere and instead of stressing over it I wrapped it up and moved to the next scene.

What's next?
A better look at the bracelet
1. Revisions: I've decided to do my first round of revisions without the ending. Hopeful once reread and fix a few things I will have a better idea of how I want to end it. Also I will be changing the ENTIRE novel to present tense. So please if you care about my well being send chocolate, or pictures of chocolate.
2. Critique Partners: Now that I actually have a somewhat finished novel, I should start looking for some again. I still kind of have one, but we've both been busy because of school. I should email her... Anyway in the next couple months I will be scoping Absolute Write again, hopefully I'll find a perfect match. If any of you are interested let me know by sending me a DM on twitter.
3. We will see: Honestly I don't know. I'm not one of those people who jumps on the querying bandwagon right away. I want to do this properly, and if that means not sending it out ever then so be it. I'm still going to write and I still want to be published someday. Just not until I'm ready. Hopefully I'll finish my other WIP I put off for NaNo and see where that will take me.

So there it is. One month, 50,000 words, sanity still intact. Okay that last one is a lie. To everyone who finished congratulations! For those of you who did not finish don't give up. Finish what you started and come back the next year with more determination. Believe me, hitting 50,000 words after two years of not finishing is worth it.

Happy Revising!


  1. Congratulations Leslie! As a fellow NaNo winner, I know exactly how you feel. My novel isn't finished, but I hit 50K! :)
    Love your writing tips - so true! Especially the "dare to suck" the pace NaNoWriMo goes, you don't have time to stop and say "that was terrible - I need to re-write that." I think at one point, I wrote that my character had tears coming out of her mouth. Medically impossible and truly awful, but I had to keep going! And now I just think it's funny :P
    Best of luck with editing and revising! Making a tense shift is going to be tough, but so is writing 50,000 words in 30 days. You can do it! *sends virtual chocolate*

  2. Congrats on your win!

    I love how you've already got yours printed out ;-)

    I like the point that you made about moving on to the next scene when the one you're in is played out or not going anywhere. A lot less stress that way and some beautiful things can happen. I tend to jump to the end and then go back and work my way up to it. No wrong way to the finish line, just get there.

    It does get easier the more times you do it, too.