Surviving NaNoWriMo

So it’s over. Finished. Done with!

For those who haven’t been following (come on people!) I have just spent a month, a whole 30 days, writing a novel of over 50,000 words. That is what NaNoWriMo is, National Novel Writing Month. If you want a look at my Novel Info, you can find it here.

Quite honestly, I wasn’t sure I could do it, I was actually quite scared of the whole thing. Writing blog posts is one thing, even if you’re doing one per day; if you miss a day, chances are nobody will notice, for a start. And you won’t have to write double the amount of content the next day.

In fact, that was what nearly killed me, the catching up. As you may know, I have been rather poorly sick of late, and that meant that there were a couple of days in November when my poor swollen brain was incapable of writing anything longer than a self-pitying tweet. And when you miss a day, your daily target goes from 1667 to… Well, double that. Don’t make me do the math.

Anyway, aside from the actual pure hard work of getting the words written, which is basically just a question of self discipline, there are a whole lot of side effects of NaNo that are quite hard to shake off even when it’s over.

The most obvious one is that you keep wanting to add words, undo contractions, add adjectives, separate hyphenated words, etc. All those little tricks you learn to use to get your word count up. In fact, doing NaNo and still writing tweets at the same time is a bit of a paradox, one requires conveying something in the minimum of characters possible, the other one makes you add words all over the place. A wonder my brain still works at all.

Another effect is that you end up becoming completely word-dyslexic. During the last week of NaNo, I found myself mixing up words, writing hair instead of here, where instead of were, their instead of they’re. Precisely the kind of mix ups that usually make me think that whoever wrote that is an illiterate idiot. Although admittedly writing most of it on an iPhone with its blasted autocorrect function might be partially to blame for that.

Anyhoo, it’s done now, I finally hit the great gleaming goal of 50K just before lunchtime on November 30th. Not quite cutting it fine, but close enough to get me mildly worried. The thing is, though, that although I have hit the great 5-0, my story still isn’t finished. There shall be no rest for those who have a story that is half told. In fact, I’m in half a mind to carry on imposing the same goals per day until it’s actually finished, just to make sure I get on with it.

So, what have I learned from NaNo, apart from an abusive use of adjectives? Well, I’ve learned that I can stick to something like this for a whole month. I’ve learned exactly how long it takes to write a thousand words (not very long) or two thousand words (not as long as you’d think). I’ve learned that I am capable of telling a story that is over 200 pages long, however drawn out and unnaturally lengthened by the constraints of Nano it may be. And I have leared that writing a 50K-word novel on an iPhone will make your thumbs very sore.

I have yet to find out if I have beaten my biggest demon, though: finishing things. Especially when it comes to writing, because that is the bit I always find the most

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