NaNoWriMo is officially over. Most NaNoers were aiming to write over 50,000 words in the month of November, but I always knew that goal would be little lofty for me due to work and being a mum to two young children. However I am extremely pleased with what I did achieve during NaNoWriMo as 25,000 words in one month is still quite an effort and has launched me over the halfway mark of my novel (considering I had already written a few chapters before NaNo officialy started). But even more than getting so much written in such a short space of time, NaNo has given me renewed motivation and momentum on my novel, and that is the real reward for me at the end of this endeavor.
It has been a new experience for me to push myself to churn out so many words in short spurts. Two methods I used during NaNo were Write or Die and Rat Races. Write or Die is a program where you set a time or word goal and then get ‘punished’ if you stop writing before reaching that goal. I chose the mediocre punishment of having a loud noise sound if I stopped writing for more than a few seconds. This was a real motivator for me because usually I was writing while my baby was napping, so I did not want that noise to sound and wake her up! However it was not as harsh as the punishment of having your work start erasing itself. Rat Races were writing races I participated in with other NaNoers on a writing forum. Basically someone would set a start and finish time and anyone who joined in had to write as much as they could in that time bracket to see who could write the most. The good thing about these methods is that I was able to achieve a lot of writing that I may have otherwise procrastinated over. However, I guess the down side of these methods is that you end up just writing without thinking and as a result could write absolute rubbish. I’ve yet to go and read over what I’ve written during NaNo, and I’m a little scared of how much editing I may have to do!
I have learnt a few things as a result of NaNo, though, which I think will help me with my future writing. First of all I have shown myself that if I use my spare time effectively I can get a lot written. I have also found that the best cure for writer’s block is to just write, even if the end result needs to get cut in the editing process, at least it has helped the plot to progress and allowed me as the writer to regain momentum again. And finally, even if I only write 50 words a day, it still all adds up in the end and it is worth just writing something everyday as it helps keep the story alive in my mind.