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NaNoWriMo 2021 Thoughts

Writer at work on a typewriterFor the first time in a while, I tried to complete NaNoWriMo this November. If you’re not familiar with this annual event, it involves writing 50,000 words in the month of November. Which, for the record, is sort of a lot.

I first tried NaNoWriMo in 2009, and I won … technically, in that I hit 50,000 words. The story was awful and not even close to done, and it shall never again see the light of day in its current state. I then proceeded to learn how to outline, and I occasionally attempted to hit 50,000 words in November, but I only succeeded one other time.

November has historically been a HORRIBLE time for me to write. Between an annual gaming convention and bunches of holiday craft shows, I have very little free time to speak of during the winter months. But with the onset of the pandemic, the gaming convention went online, and craft shows dried up. The latter have come back, but I’m still not ready to do events like that. So my November was not as busy.

But I still didn’t win this year, in terms of word count. I chugged along on my novel, but the closer I got to the end, the more I realized a bunch of flaws in my planning. I figured out how to fix it, but it meant rolling back to chapter 1. At that point, I had two chapters remaining, and once I figured out the new direction to go, there was no reason to write those chapters.

So I stopped. Rather than trying to go back to the beginning, or to finish what I was working on (knowing full well it would never see the light of day), I made the choice to take a load of stress off of me and stop.

The thing is, I know I can write a novel. I’ve published four of them. So I don’t need the NaNo win to tell me that I can do it. So the “winning” was less significant to me, and the being not stressed took priority.

I’ll write the new version of the novel later, and give myself two months and change to do it. That’s a lot more sensible and sustainable, for me.

Do I regret trying NaNo again after a break? Nope. The local NaNo community is super active on Discord, and I made a bunch of new online friends who are also authors. I helped people, and they helped me. So it was a good experience, even without the official win.

The most important thing to take away from this is that while an official NaNo win might feel good, sometimes, you can feel good without the official win!

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