I did it!
I wrote 50,000 words in November. I am a NaNoWriMo Winner!
As I wrote in an earlier blog, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writers Month. It is a worldwide, online initiative to help writers achieve their goals.
My NaNoWriMo project was not a novel; my project was to write content for this blog.
My objectives were to:
- Practice writing longer first drafts—to get all my words out on a topic
- Gain insight into my writing habits, style, and voice
- Generate a pipeline of material for future blogs
I’m pleased to report that I achieved the 50,000 word count on Monday, November 30–the last day of the event.
The NaNoWriMo “Winner” swag bag is modest but worth it: a digital badge that goes on my profile; a certificate (that I fill out and print at home); and discounts on NaNoWriMo 2020 swag and special deals on writers’ products and services.
I’ll be posting more about my NaNoWriMo2020 experience. For now, here are a few takeaways from my experience that I’ll want to keep in mind if I do it again next year:
Thumbs-up on writing by hand.
I can churn out more words with pen and paper than I can by typing. Many of those words will be edited out of the final piece. But for good, solid word production, uninhibited by spellcheck, self-editing, and Google rabbit holes, writing by hand is where it’s at.
NaNoWriMo takes you at your word (count). At first, I thought I had to type every hand-written word into a document in order for it to “count” for NaNoWriMo. Happily, they’re cool with self-reporting. No third-party or machine verification needed.
I write 300 words per page. College ruled, give or take 25 words. I always estimate conservatively.
On a good spin, I can write 1,200 words in under an hour. This only happens in spurts, when I am well-fed, well-read, and have already had my walk.
My typical writing pace is 800 words an hour. By this math, NaNoWriMo took me about 62 hours of solid writing.
I like to write in 45-90 minute sessions, once or twice a day most days.
I hit the wall at 40,000 words. I got over it with a little help from my friends. I started the month knowing that I had a backlog of ideas swimming in my head that needed to get out on the page. That source dried up at about 40,000 words—three-fourths of the way there. Here’s what helped: a) turning to my artist-heroes for inspiration (Anne Lamott; Lynda Barry, among others); b) calling friends for encouragement; and c) attending online writing sessions with fellow NaNoWriMo.
A long first draft is still a long way from being finished.
I need to invest in a comfortable chair and/or a standing desk.
I’m not much of a story-teller, but I notice things.
I have a lot to say about grapefruit.