I can’t believe NaNoWriMo is already over and I’m here to share 5 things I’ve learned! Well, today still counts so it’s almost over but I’ve decided to publish this final post now. Each week I’ve shared with you a little update in my NaNoWriMo series including:
So, what’s going to be in this last instalment? Well I’ll be letting you know where I got up to, my results from the month and some things that I’ve learned about myself, my writing and my WIP over the last four-ish weeks.
How did the month go?
From the very beginning I knew I wasn’t going to be literally writing my novel every single day. I set out to do something on my novel every day, from plotting, researching, creating character profiles and moodboards and yes, maybe even a little bit of writing.
In the first two weeks I found that I was super motivated. I was excited and determined, and worked on my WIP daily. As we came into the third week I had one day off from writing, which I wasn’t mad about. By the final week, things had slowly petered off, as I sat down and worked on my WIP every two to three days.
So, did I work on my novel every day in November as I had planned? No.
Am I annoyed at myself for that? No!
Over the month I really got to know my characters, their arcs, what their goals, motivations and truths are and what their past and present looks like. This understanding really helped me navigate the overall plot and see how they could develop throughout the story and into their future. I even did a lot of surface level work, deciding on their physical attributes, personalities and quirks, favourite music and things along those lines.
At the same time I was figuring out how to tie in the characters of the other two books in the series, as they definitely overlap with one another! I really enjoyed this element and taking a look at the bigger picture rather than isolating myself with just one story or scene.
While it doesn’t sound like a lot, I’m really proud of the solid foundation that I’ve created during NaNoWriMo and the notebook that I have filled with exercises from the resources I’ve used, song lyrics, tropes, dialogue and lots more is now like my own little bible.
5 things I’ve learned during NaNoWriMo2020
1. I am so much more productive in spurts rather than every day consistently. Throughout the month I found that some days I could be completely in the zone for hours with the time just flying by, and others I just couldn’t seem to focus.
2. While books and other resources have been super helpful and I had a lot of fun using them, especially for plotting, I did feel at times that they were somewhat stemming my flow of creativity as though I were thinking “inside the box” to answer some of the questions and exercises set out. However I would definitely recommend Creating Character Arcs Workbook by K. M. Weiland and some of the other resources I’ve posted about here.
3. I need to be topping up my creativity well through other means such as books, blogs and TV/YouTube. Focussing on my WIP every night after work meant that I often felt drained by the time I went to bed leaving me not a lot of time for other forms of entertainment, and I don’t want to resent my writing!
4. That it’s okay to take my time. I don’t have a deadline and I’m under pressure from nobody but myself, so if it takes a while for me to figuratively put pen to paper, then so be it.
5. Listening to romantic country music really helps!
With NaNoWriMo2020 coming to a close, it’s time for me to think about how I want to carry on this new (baby) habit that I’ve somewhat formed throughout the last month.
At the moment I’ve decided that I won’t be trying to enforce a daily plan of working on my WIP, instead I’ll be setting aside some time maybe once or twice a week, or whenever the inspiration hits! Like I said, when I feel in the zone I really am in the zone. A few hours can fly by and it will feel like 30 minutes, and I’ll look down at my notebook and it’ll be filled with ideas and plans. Or, something will just click into place and everything will just come tumbling out excitedly.
I’ve got no time frame as such in mind, but I’d really love to get my plot structure onto flashcards by the end of next month because I think that’s going to be a necessary step for me to be able to get my first draft out. Like I’ve said before, I’m definitely a planner rather than a pantser.
So I guess the takeaway of this post is that although I didn’t exactly meet my daily goal throughout the month, I’m still classing this as a major win! It’s something I definitely want to build on and I’m feeling more excited than ever about where this story could go.
Did you take part in NaNoWriMo20? How did it go? I’d love to chat about it!