NaNoWriMo Update: Pyrrhic Victory

Well, I did my 50k in the end, and I’m grateful for that, but I’m not entirely happy with the results or the experience. Time will tell.

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Maybe it’s the fact I’ve completed three other books, so I’m not one of those who needed NaNo to write. It really did help me to get this particular book onto the page, but vomiting up 50k at such a pace is not how I normally write, so I’m not sure the result is quite what I hoped for.

Real progress was mostly during the first part of the month, which I suppose is to be expected. It probably didn’t help that I hit the tricky middle section of the book during the tricky 3rd and 4th weeks.

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If not for the boost on day 15, I would not have hit the target (the boost at the end is the difference between what OpenOffice said I did and the validator). My final average of 1,782 words per day isn’t bad, but I was hitting 2k/day early on, and considering I still need another 40-50k at least to finish the book, I could have used the extra 7k right now.

But the biggest problem I’ve had was the social side of it. Turns out, I don’t like writing in a crowd, I don’t gain encouragement from others – I’m very introverted, and my energy and drive comes from within. If anything, the fact that so many thousands of others were doing an activity that I find very private and personal was actively discouraging.

I don’t want to disparage anyone who found NaNo exactly the tonic they needed, and especially those who did not finish their book – but often still found it rewarding. That wasn’t why I did NaNo, though, and maybe that’s why it wasn’t for me. I know from experience that this is, to some extent, the easy part, and while I’m happy to have the words behind me, I don’t have the same good feeling about this one that I’ve had during other drafts. That may or may not have anything to do with NaNo.

However, now that the sound and fury of NaNo have died down, and I don’t feel so pressured to hit targets every day, week or month, then I can let this book sink in a bit, take a bit more time over where it’s going, and begin to steer it back to what I hoped it would be. I still have a bit of momentum, and don’t want to let that slip. If the first day after hitting the target is any indication, I might have half a chance of succeeding.

But quietly, on my own.