Saturday was officially a good day.
Not only did I complete Couch to 5K (finally) but I also filed my 50K to become a NaNoWriMo2015 winner. I was (and still am if the truth be told) unashamedly proud of myself for both, which I know is a bit uncool.
There is no way I could have written 50k if fate hadn’t played a hand though, there simply wouldn’t have been enough hours or energy in the day otherwise. When my wart turned out not to be a wart I decided, with encouragement from Mark, not to accept any more freelance work for November. The last thing I wanted to do was take a job and then have to cancel it because the consultant appointment or operation date had come through. It meant that when my mum and dad visited twice a week (barring my dad being poorly, a visit to the dentist, a hospital appointment and train disruption) and for an hour or so at night I was mostly able to write for fun.
That doesn’t mean it was all plain sailing. A couple of days into week three and I was ready to give up, sure that I would never make it. Freya had been up in the night even more than usual and the last thing I wanted to do when she went to bed (for a couple of hours) was sit down and write.
With the deadline looming though the journalist in me kicked in. MUST NOT MISS A DEADLINE. So I ploughed on. I was still unsure right up to Saturday whether I would be able to do it or not but running the 5K with ease (a post on that coming up) gave me a much-needed boost of confidence.
I thought it would be fun if I did a Q&A with myself about the experience.
So, Tara, this is your first NaNoWriMo. What are some of the key things you have learned?
- Planning is a must – I would certainly have more of a plan for my story if I did it again. This time I took two characters who had been sitting around in my head for a while and a basic plot and just let them go for it. I really enjoyed this at the start but I was about four chapters in when the story took a turn which really needed me to rewrite parts but, of course, there isn’t really time to rewrite.
- It was never going to be a complete novel – I started off thinking I would write it in order but that just wasn’t possible. As well as six pretty solid chapters at the start and two at the end I spent the rest of the time writing scenes, which may or may not make the final cut but were really useful in getting to know my characters better.
- New software love – Scrivener is now my software of choice. I joined a NaNo Norfolk Facebook group and some of those taking part mentioned they used it so I took a look about a week into writing. I’m really only using the basics, which was all I had time to learn, and I already find it so useful. I was enjoying the free 30 day trial and was about to buy it when I got an email saying because I had completed NaNo I had a nice discount available. I would have paid full price.
- I can do it – I suppose that’s the biggest lesson. The most I’ve ever written is three chapters. Then all the doubts about not being a very good creative writer, about my plot being weak and my characters not believable bubble up to the surface and I stop. A few days or weeks later the need returns and I start a new story (and repeat). Now I know if I set my mind to it and ignore all the negative voices, I have a book in me. Whether it’s a book anyone will want to read is another matter but I think I need to write for me first.
What were the hardest things?
Finding time. Even with my mum and dad looking after Freya for (roughly) two days a week I still struggled to meet the target every day. When I got behind it would feel like the mountain was too high to climb but it helped that I was enjoying seeing where my story was going (and that I’m paranoid about deadlines). Clearly I was lucky to be able to take a month off (part time) work but it did feel a bit self-indulgent even though I did it for reasons other than NaNo.
What about the book then?
As I said, it’s not quite there yet. Some rewriting is needed and then I need to finish the middle. My plan is to let it sit for a while because the strange thing is it’s made me more focussed on the previous story I was working on.
Would I do it again?
Hell yeah (providing I have the time).
11 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo – I’m a winner.”
Well done you! *pops champagne cork*
What an achievement.
Thank you! 😀
Oh congratulations on two massive achievements Tara!!! The couch to 5k is no mean feat and then to complete your 50k challenge too makes you superwoman in my book xx
Hah, thank you, Lisa. I certainly felt like superwoman on Saturday. Hehe.
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What an amazing double whammy achievement Tara! Look forward to hearing more about the book x
Thank you, very kind of you to comment 🙂
Well done you!
I failed my NaNoWriMo spectacularly.
I’ve heard lots of good things about Scrivener….I’ll have to give it a go.
Oh no, sorry to hear that. Yes, I would defo give the trial version a go. Hopefully you’ll love it.
Thank you. How did you get on?
Got disheartened to begin with as I convinced my self that the target was 3,500 words a day and so didn’t file my copy! Kept on writing and have broken the back WIP.