A Post-NaNoWriMo Reflection

Snoopy writers blockI had to take some time to process November. I set out to write a novel, or at least the first 50,000 words of a very rough first draft of a novel. So how did I do?

Well, I didn’t “win,” although there weren’t any prizes anyway, but at 38,000 words I made a good start and learned a lot about myself as a writer. As I said in my last post, NaNoWriMo was a huge challenge for me as a writer who loves to find excuses not to write. The biggest win for me last month was that I wrote 28 out of those 30 days, whereas I typically can go many days, even weeks without writing.

Moving forward, I plan to stick to writing more consistently, to try for every day, even if just an hour. A question I had on the toughest days was when is it bailing out and when is it a necessary break. There were days when I felt truly stuck and did not know how to move forward and wanted to take some time to think before pushing on. Some days I wrote just to fulfill a word count goal, and I hated that. However sometimes I wrote past that point and regained my stride. Overall it was helpful for me to face down my cursor and not turn away because I know that is my weak spot.

Another thing that surprised me in the process was the questions that popped up, exposing holes in the narrative I didn’t anticipate. These were aha moments that rather than stressing me, actually excited me to explore as they push me to dig deeper into my characters and their stories.

There were times, on the good days when it was pure joy to write, that I entertained ideas of having a polished manuscript in just a few months. If I could just keep this flow, right? Wrong. Those hard days crashed down in toppling waves. But if I stick with it, who knows where I’ll be by this time next year.

That’s the goal for me, sticking with it. Through the tough times when giving up tastes so sweet, though knowing the after taste will burn the tongue. Two words: keep pushing.


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