This November, I will not be participating in National Novel Writing Month. Wha—?
I joined for the first time last year, and I did Camp NaNo in July this year. I’m a huge supporter of the NaNo movement, and I still have writing goals to tackle this November. However, I’ve decided to sit this competition out.
Here’s why: I’m about halfway done my current work-in-progress. I need to write another 40,000 words to be done, which falls short of the typical NaNo competition minimum count of 50,000 words. I’m writing at a current rate of 3000 words a day on average, so I should be done my draft mid-November. Right after that, I want to jump right into revising. So, joining NaNo on something in progress at this point would feel like having a head start at a race, then starting another race halfway through.
I did well at NaNo last year and drafted my novel of 75,000 words in 19 days. This was how I did it:
- Before November I pre-planned my meals and workouts and deep-cleaned and organized the house
- I made a story outline beforehand—it was rough, but it was enough for me to work with
- I woke up earlier than usual to get a head start on my words for the day
- I used the Pomodoro Technique and wrote in word sprints of 25 minutes each
- Before each word sprint, I reviewed the chapter outline so I would be clear on my writing objective
- I didn’t stop to proofread or change anything as I wrote
- I reported my count each day in my blog to hold myself accountable.
As pleased as I was for finishing a draft so quickly, I was so physically and mentally exhausted by the end of it. I took a “break” from the project and didn’t start on the revisions until the new year. Also, my draft was an absolute nightmare to revise, with all those typos and errors. It took me three times as long to revise and an equal amount of time to edit. Still, I ended up writing and publishing this novel, which was a fun one.
I have no regrets, and I’ll definitely do NaNo again in the future for any new projects.