NaNoWriMo 2016 – 90,657

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NaNoWriMo 2016 – 90,657

That’s how many words I wrote this time in the National Novel Writing Month of November 2016.

Proud much?

I am. Truly proud, happy, content, humbled.

Each day I sat to do what I called my “writing sprint”, even though some days I wasn’t feeling it. I still sat and completed the goal.

My goal was to write at the bare minimum 2,000 words per day, every day, for 30 days.

I reached that goal every day.

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Once or twice I dragged my butt over the edge of 2,000 only just and it was a relief when I looked down and found I could stop now.

Most days, however, once the initial 5-10 minute “hump” was over, the words flowed and flowed until at a natural ending point I looked down to find I’d written well over my 2,000 words.

On the best of those days, only a few days before the end of the month, I wrote a scene that I’d been thinking about for a few days. It flowed so well that I wrote nearly 5,000 words in two hours.

Two hours that disappeared as though they were minutes.

When I was done that writing sprint, I was numb from the waist down (!), thirsty as can be, busting to pee, with eyes so dry it took a few blinks to clear them.

And I felt elated!

The NaNo has been now the greatest experience for two years in a row, and I might even say greatest achievement of my life.

To start a new novel, or in this year’s case a third novel in a series, from zero words and make something out of nothing over the course of a month, committing to writing each and every day without fail. Amazing.

I wondered again, and again, why I don’t do this every day – without fail!

There were a few days where I had to get up early, or stay up late to complete my word count based on whatever else was happening in my life.

But NaNo was important to me! And for the month of November I chose to make sure it was important enough to set aside the time to do it – no excuses.

So why do I excuse myself for the rest of the year with lame pretexts, and even lamer justifications for why I couldn’t write today, or this week, or this month?

Last year when I completed my first NaNo and experienced the same elation I felt this month, I vowed to write a minimum of 2,000 words a day, every day, for the rest of my life.

This lasted until about mid-December of 2015, then it got busy at work, then Christmas came, and all the Christmas movies (Love those, especially the cheese-filled Hallmark-type ones!!)…and then it was January, and, well…now I was just tired, or cold, or feeling sleepy, or whatever, and before I knew it October was rolling around and a new NaNo month appeared.

In July, during the Camp NaNoWriMo, I tried to get motivated. I signed up, and then did not write a single word at all. I felt ashamed, and it almost deterred me from trying the full NaNo this year.

But I’m so glad I did!

The goal for most NaNo participants, or at least the standard goal, is 50,000 words in 30 days, this equates to 1667 words per day for 30 days.

As happened last year, I averaged around 3,000 dedicated words a day for the novel I started, and hit the 50,000 word goal on November 17, 2016.

Wowsers.

Seriously, why am I not doing this every day?

And that doesn’t include the blog posts I continued to write, or the journal entries, or the memoir stories, (or the loooong emails!). When putting all the writing I did each day together, I easily wrote upward of 5,000 words a day combined, sometimes closer to 10,000.

There is something to be said for this event, the way that there is a daily check in, and an incentive to do so…if you are so inclined. If you check in daily you get a “badge” that says you met the goal each and every day.

In fact, it is the stats page that keeps me coming back.

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I don’t get involved in the forums, or the competitions between “buddies” or any of the social stuff. I do not do this for anyone else… but I Love to see the stats for me.

I’ve never been terribly competitive when it comes to me and others; never saw the point. I Love other people and cheer them on for whatever they want to do; I just never felt the need to win against someone.

However, to win against myself! To beat yesterday’s best! To achieve points on a board that are mine against me… Oh how I Love, Love, Love, that!

The stats page is my favourite part. Other than the joy and satisfaction I get from the writing of course! But it is the stats page that seems to be the difference between me writing every day or not.

When I’m writing for me, no one is checking, there are no badges and accolades for my achievements, and no measure of how I’m progressing. I want to see those, even if no one else sees them, I want to see them!

So I tried to recreate part of the stats page in an Excel spreadsheet – I did this last year too, but I have added a graph that updates each day with my word count like it does on the website.

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I’m hoping this will help keep me motivated throughout the year!

One thing that amazes me is that if I wrote 2,000 words a day, every day, no excuses, for a year I would have 730,000 words.

Now, to be honest, some days I wrote absolute shit… where maybe only a quarter of what was written was worthwhile keeping and the rest will be garbage. Some days I wrote over half that I was happy with, and a little under half was “filler” to get to the next good part.

So let’s say – to be fair – that half of those 730,000 words are worthy of a second draft.

Then I would have 365,000 words that were going to stay into a second draft and be the foundation of actual books.

365,000 words that are the foundation for second drafts equates to about 1,000 pages of writing.

An average novel is 300 pages. That means in a year, I could have written first drafts for three novels that contained a good foundation for a second draft.

Three novels a year! What?!

Of course, the second draft and the rewrites would have to be taken into account, and will take time – perhaps away from writing more.

Although, what I found was on average to write 2,500 words took me just over an hour.

If I cut out a few hours of TV a night, something I did do during this month, then I have at least one to two hours per night to devote to second, third, fourth drafts.

Once the ball is rolling, two to three books a year is not impossible.

Especially, as I gain in writing ability.

This month, cutting TV down to about one hour a day, allowed me to complete three courses in Reiki, read four books, study stuff that interested me, and write daily.

Once again I find myself so very grateful to NaNoWriMo for the month of writing Love. For the platform to encourage, inspire, and reward the commitment to writing daily, to promote focus.

I wish it was online every month, or at least twice a year, or once a quarter!

But mostly, I wish I could keep myself motivated throughout the year.

This year, the novel is not yet finished – yes, yes, I’ve rambled on a bit… I do that… but there is some good stuff amongst the waffle – because it took a turn into a romantic place I was not planning on exploring as much as happened. So now my characters have to still find out who is behind the kidnappings.

Today we got back on track, so I will keep writing each day until we come to a solution…

And then we will keep writing because it feels good to write, and because I have many more stories swimming in my head that would like to be written.

Thank you NaNoWriMo for showing me that I can write fiction, and published or no I am a writer!

I’m so grateful!

Warm smiles and Love,

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