I’ve been meaning to post an update about my NaNoWriMo experience for weeks. This is definitely not what I was expecting I’d be saying come December, but….
I wrote a first draft of a whole novel in a month. (I’m just writing it all out like that because I’m still having a hard time believing I actually did it — it helps me wrap my mind around it to see it right there in black and white.)
Of the three possible ideas which I posted about here, I ended up going with #3 — the sequel to the manuscript I’m currently subbing. I felt a little crazy writing a sequel to an unpublished story, but I figured even if the only people who ever read it are my parents and my husband, I really owed it to them to tell them what happens next!
The NaNoWriMo experience itself was just amazing. I realized that the reason I’ve always written SO agonizingly slowly is because I never managed to shut up my inner critic long enough to just get words on the page. Now I’ve seen for myself that if I can just ignore that voice telling me I suck, I can write a first draft in a reasonable length of time. I may actually be able to get all these stories that live in my head out into the world someday! (At the rate I normally write, I figured it wasn’t going to be mathematically possible for me to complete more than, like, two books in my whole life.)
I also loved the sense of community — which I hadn’t thought I’d care about at all, since I’m a total shut-in. But it turned out to be incredibly fun to meet other people (at least virtually) who were working on the same crazy goal, and hang out on Twitter doing word sprints together. So, next up is editing with fellow WriMos during the “Now What?” months, and then Camp NaNoWriMo this summer!
To anybody out there who’s considering whether it’s worth signing up for NaNoWriMo or Camp NaNoWriMo next year: As a former NaNo-skeptic, I’m giving you an unequivocal YES! Try it. Whether you finish or not, it’s inspiring and motivating, and teaches you so much about writing and your own process.