The NaNoWriMo Experience :: Reflections on November 2017

November is National Novel Writing Month.

The aim is to write the first 50,000 words of new fiction, from scratch. There are allowable tweaks and rebellion versions, but this year, I went for the plain, old, NaNo. My 8th attempt. My 8th win.

I started on November 1st with 0 words in my document, and ended on November 29th (a day early!) with 50,083 of fiction.

However, as someone who usually writes 2 novels a year anyway, I don’t use NaNo to write a ‘novel’-> I use it to explore the process of crafting, to feel a sense of community, to try out new, stupid things I wouldn’t want to ‘risk’ trying on my core stories, and letting my creativity take over for a month.

I don’t worry about exercise, healthy meals, or any other projects. I just write. I stop going out for lunch at work, using my break to type furiously on my phone.

Each year, I debate taking part again.

For some people, the pace allows them to push through stories and get that draft down. For others though, NaNo is the one opportunity to write, and is then zapped until the following November.

For me, it’s a low-pressure state for habit setting, creativity, exploration and community.

This year, my fall down was definitely a block in world-building, darn it.

In October, when planning for the novel, I’m careful how much detail i go into, as I get afraid that I will have ideas and don’t want to lose words early.

However, this meant I didn’t know how my technology worked, what the village buildings looked like, how big my village was, the layout of local amenities (Main Character’s house for example!), what animals are in the area and/or how the village survives.

It’s true, I don’t need to know how much a pot of berries costs but do they barter or have currency or just everything they harvest goes into the same pot to share?

Thus, the lesson from this year is to explore the options for world building before November 2018.

What lessons have you taken away from NaNoWriMo?

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