What worked? What didn't?

NaNoWriMo 2019 ended yesterday. Was it a success? I suppose, like most things in life, it’s the perspective with which you look at it, as to the answer to the question.

The original goal for NaNoWriMo was to write 50,000 words in the month of November.

After the second weekend, I realized I was not going to make that goal. So, I reduced my goal to 30,000 words and ended the month with 30,105. At least, then it didn’t look like an epic fail. πŸ™‚ That brought my story to 56,724 words. And I’m now in the wrap-up phase of “Jagged Feathers.”

Here’s what worked:

  1. The motivation to participate was a huge propelling factor
  2. Knowing where my story needed to go (even though I don’t outline, I knew what needed to happen)
  3. Having my characters fully developed, and what each had to hide and had to learn
  4. Finding determination to write as much as I could without verging on the edge of insanity.
  5. Having personal experience with an amputation.

What didn’t work:

  1. I had to stop multiple times and do some research (for instance, what are the residual effects of being shot with an assault rifle wearing a bullet-proof vest, where in Dallas, Texas can you buy a certain kind of ammo, Can you buy live hand grenades in Dallas, Texas, Where is a military clothing store, are there storage lockers at the bus station, etc…) – So, note to self: try and do the research ahead of time. If someone was to look at my search history, they’d probably think I was a terrorist. πŸ™‚
  2. Family events ( I wound up keeping all five grandchildren – three one time and two the next – for several days in a row) That interfered with writing for sure.
  3. Thanksgiving holiday (no matter how much I wanted to kid myself about having all this extra time, Thanksgiving was taken up with quality family time and I don’t regret it one bit!)
  4. Going back and reading what I’d written (one of the proponents of NaNoWriMo is to just write and not worry about sentence structure, plot points, grammar or punctuation. I found that I couldn’t do that.)
  5. Even though I had NaNoWriMo Buddies, there was little communication between us, so I don’t think I quite understood that part.

Will I do it again?
I can’t say yes and I can’t say no. So, I’ll just say, “we’ll see.” πŸ™‚

It was certainly an experience and I’m very glad I did it. At least it got me back to the story that I’d abandoned a year ago.

To everyone who reached or exceeded the 50,000 word goal, my hat is off to you! Congratulations!

26 thoughts on “What worked? What didn't?

  1. An interesting post, Jan. I think you did very well. I don’t do this challenge as I know I can never write 50 000 words in one month with all my other time pressures like full time work and family. I just plod along at my 500 words a day goal and hope I’ll get somewhere eventually.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And of course, it will, Robbie. There is something to be said about a steady pace. I most likely won’t take the challenge again, but it was an experience. It’s kind of like doing Black Friday shopping one time for the experience of it. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It was quite an experince, Jan. I agree life got in the way a lot. I avoided writing a story that required any research. I jumped in with only an idea so I had no idea where I was going. I ended up with three storylines I will have to connect better in an edit. I agree it was hard not to go back and reread and fix. That always keeps me grounded in the story. I found with Buddies seeing where they were at word count wise let me know I was doing okay. So that helped me. I admit to days though when I was put out having to write just to write. Those days will take lots of editing…lol. Congrats on meeting your goal and love the cover:)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know it must have been hard to write just for the sake of gathering up word count. I am happy with what I did come out with, in that I know it makes sense and moved the story along. I agree that seeing where the Buddies were was fun, but as far as communication, I think none of us had the time for chit-chat. πŸ™‚ Congrats on seeing it through to the end!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jan, I think you made a huge achievement and I think it’s deriding it to see this as a failure! Congratulations!! πŸ˜€πŸ˜ You’ve returned to a work that had been left for a year and made a fantastic inroads to the story. What intriguing research and it wouldn’t be possible to do all ahead of time. I’m in awe how you wrote so much with your gaggle of grandchildren and thanksgiving… both so precious! Your pros and cons of NaNo was fascinating to read and particularly the lack of communication with fellow support buddies. Good luck with completing the novel and wishing you a great start to the week!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you SO much, Annika. No, I most definitely do not see my word count as a failure, but only success. My story is much closer to a wrap-up. It was a most interesting experience to participate in this challenge. Thank you for your comment and I wish you a great start to the week as well!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow! Wrap-up sounds even better – and so exciting! I’ve had a heck of start to my week and just proofing my printed paperback. Hope to post more tomorrow but I feel overjoyed and also can’t quite believe it!

        I am truly in awe of all who go into NaNo – the first years I considered it but realise it wouldn’t suit my way of working and life always intervenes!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. The fact that you shared your experience (what worked and what did not) will help writers in the future. When I first read about NaNoWriMo Buddies, I was intrigued. I might try it next time…please note the word might.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. 30,105 words is a real accomplishment, Jan! I’m sure you’ll agree that writing is both enjoyable and gruelling. I can’t speak for you, or anyone else, but there are many times that I toil over a paragraph and it seems to take an eternity to complete. After it’s all said and done, and my writing time is up (my family gets out of bed), I reread what I wrote and think, “That’s it?” From the quality (very high) of your books, I’d say that you are very meticulous in your writing, and that takes time. Job well done! Keep up the great work!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Mark! Thanks for stopping by. I deeply appreciate your kind words. Yes. when the writing flows, it such an adrenaline rush. But sometimes it’s like trying to walk uphill carrying a hundred-pound load. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I often have the same experience with NaNo, Jan. 50K words just doesn’t always work with how I write, the stage of a book, and what needs to happen in the story (ie research). I used the challenge to write every day and push myself to complete a draft, but I didn’t really think about word-counts. I ended up with 25K and am really happy with that. So give yourself a pat on the back. In my book, you’re a winner. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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