In November I did my first true NaNoWriMo. I technically tried it out in high school, but only as an excuse to do a write-in overnight at my high school because I was a giant dork. And I definitely gave up less than halfway through.
But last year I’d had an idea for a post-apocalyptic story that I wanted to get down, so I figured I’d give it a try. I was pretty miserable for so much of the month, but I did manage to get to 50K words.
And about a week ago, I revisited my story for the first time since wrapping it up in November. And hoo boy, I am realizing that NaNoWriMo probably isn’t my thing.
On the one hand, it was a positive experience because it forced me to actually write my whole story, instead of re-writing the first few chapters over and over again everytime I thought of a new plot hole (There were A LOT of plot holes – and still are).
I’m lucky to have my entire story written. I had a vague outline when I began, but it changed so much as I wrote. It’s now a completely different story than the one I set out to write. I don’t think I would have gotten to this point if I hadn’t been forcing myself to write it all in one month.
But on the other hand, I think NaNoWriMo also hurt me, especially towards the end. I got about 3/4 of the way through and realized my story was wrapping up, but I wasn’t anywhere near 50K words. So I started putting in useless scenes of my characters, that don’t really progress the plot. And now I’ve gotta edit all of that out.
I wish that instead of putting in filler just to hit my word limit, I had focused on the story and called finishing it a win, even if I hadn’t hit 50K words.
I love editing, but the beginning of the process is daunting. I’m not a fan of making structural changes, but I LOVE line editing and proofreading. I’m kind of slogging through fixing my structural problems, but the prospect of getting to the line editing part of the process really excites me and is keeping me going.
And, of course, the prospect of potentially sharing this story with the world some day is exciting as hell.