NaNoWriMo gave me some interesting media opportunities including my NaNoWriMo interview for the Oxford Mail. That led to a challenging, very much out of my comfort zone, opportunity the following week. On the 23rd, I was invited to chat on BBC Radio Oxford about NaNoWriMo. I’ll be adding this to the Media section of my website shortly, so look out for that if you missed it!
This was my first time trying NaNoWriMo although I’ve been aware of it for a while. I took my YA dsytopian concept Deluge. On November 17 I finished the target of 50k words, and on the 27th November Deluge settled at respectable 78k. The last days of NaNo I switched to a new project, a comedy, to keep the writing motivation going.
NaNoWriMo seems to divide people, much like marmite. I’m unsure of the divide as to me it’s quite simple, people write differently – like anything! What works for you, with one project in one frame of mind, might not work for you for the next. Let alone someone rather different to you. I did NaNoWriMo this year because I hoped it would be positive motivation and it was an experience I wanted to have for myself. At the other end, I can say it was worth it. It has established a decent writing routine, hopefully to move me a bit away from my patches of hypermania and then complete dry patches.
As someone who does not plan on paper, and mainly lets the characters roam free, my first drafts are always something that need a lot of editing. The NaNoWriMo produced Deluge is not dissimilar than the hypermania in march that led me to produce Tacenda in a period of three weeks. As Tacenda returns from its beta readers and is looking to be published early next year, I’m eyeing up the first draft of Deluge and seeing no extra editing work from it.
So to summarise:
- Quantity over quality seems to be a common criticism. This isn’t unique to NaNoWriMo, in fact to become a better writer volume is key, both in writing and reading. It’s up to you to sift through and refine, and however bad it is is – practice is valuable. Your first draft is never going to be good!
- Community. Childcare commitments unfortunately precluded me attending write-ins as planned, but the forums, facebook groups, and even reddit have been a lovely way of keeping in touch with people and staying on track. I hope I’ll be checking in with some of the same faces again next year!
- Accomplishment. If you’ve never finished a book before, then that feeling is an awesome one. I completed my first book when I was 13, and yes, I was probably too smug. It took a further five years for me to discover it wasn’t very good. Thankfully, I can produce things worth reading now! Not had that feeling of completion yet? you need it. Trust me.
Did you give it a go this year? What parts worked for you? Would love to hear from you!