I honestly haven’t struggled with NaNo this much since my first year of doing it. This year almost every second I spent writing felt like trying to pull teeth. The words didn’t want to come. It really didn’t help that I had no idea what this story was supposed to be – despite having a pretty good idea of what I wanted the plot to look like. I didn’t know the characters, so writing them was hard. This was also the first year that I did it while work + working so much overtime, so the energy wasn’t there. The last thing I wanted to do after getting off work, was write.
That being said, there were a few moments that I didn’t hate working on this WIP and I even hit a roll and was able to knock out a couple thousand words once or twice. But more often than not, I just didn’t write. I went days not writing, not updating my word count. I started to seriously question if my pride (or stubbornness) at almost needing to hit 50k was worth it, because I was so tired. I wanted to hit 50k, because I love this event and I wanted to hit that “you’ve done NaNo and won ten times” mark.
Somehow, with my lack of numbers rivaling my 2011 NaNo experience (I ended up writing 25k in 5 days due to a massive case of writer’s block) I managed to hit 50k on November 29th. I can’t guarantee that any of it is actually any good, and I probably won’t revise it for a while, but words are on the page! Which is honestly more than I could ask for at this point lol.
I ended the month with 50,334 which is ironically the same number as my 2019 Project. I didn’t even realize they were the same until I was looking under the “Projects” tab on the site. But I did go through the document and I cleared out a lot of what I 100% knew was garbage. Other scenes I moved over into a “Deleted Scenes” doc to save for later, but I’ve pretty much cut the project in half.
I’m not even mad about it, because I really wasn’t feeling most of what I wrote. Rather than keeping those words in the doc to just muddy and crowd out the potentially good words, I wanted to move them out of the way. That way, when I do decide to go back in and rewrite/revise, it’s not overly cluttered.
I’ve rambled on long enough, so let’s do a quick recap of this NaNo experience.
I had big plans and *some* ideas going into this WIP, but I definitely forgot how hard drafting is. My original plan was for this book to be darker, moodier, twisty-er than what I usually write, and I really don’t think I hit the nail on the head. I also knew that I wanted this book to be more mature, a little bit spicy – so, like Upper YA/NA. But even knowing what I knew I wanted the book to be, I really had no idea how to execute it properly. Within the first week, I’d already restarted the beginning of my WIP. And then it was kind of just downhill from there.
This was the point where I started not to care and question if I should even finish. I was exhausted and not really caring or liking where the story was going. And I still had no idea who my characters were. Then I wrote Andi Squared and I fell in love with these two characters that surprised me – they weren’t in any of my plans. Now I don’t want to get rid of them ever.
I pretty much stopped writing daily by this point. I had no time, no energy, no drive – but this is also where my stubbornness really kicked into play. I refused to “lose” so I just started writing whatever came to mind. I didn’t care about plot, or even if what I was writing actually pertained to my story. NaNo became less about getting 50k of one story on a page and became about writing and just getting words on a page. All year I’ve been struggling to write, so I let inspiration take me wherever it wanted and just wrote.
This was crunch time. It sucked. For most of the week, I was only averaging roughly 500 words a day and I was ~15K behind. I *started* figuring out my characters and their motivations, but I wasn’t getting the atmosphere I’d intended to. My Vampire was turning out to be a lovesick fool, whereas I wanted him to be dark and broody.
And then I hit 50K on Nov 29 and I was done. I saved the doc and closed out of Word.
The actual relief I felt the following days – where I didn’t have to write was amazing. It was one less thing I had to do after work. One less thing I had to fit into an already packed schedule.
I wish I’d been a little more on top of NaNo this year, but I wasn’t at all. I missed so many days and just didn’t write. It’ll probably be awhile before I dive back into this WIP. As of right now, I have no immediate plans to do so. I have other things I need to work on. I think I’m going to have to be in a pretty specific kind of mood to write this, and as of right now, I know I’m not in it.
I am glad though that I have words on a page that I can come back to when I’m ready. I wish the story had come easier, that drafting hadn’t felt like such a chore, but I’ve legit not written in months, so even ~25k of useable words are better than absolutely nothing.
I’m also really glad that I’ve been able to do this event for the last ten years – I always enjoy it, even when it feels like the bane of my existence.
Before I sign off, (because it’s late as I’m writing this, and I need to go to bed) I thought I’d share one last teaser/sneak peek of this WIP.
If you participated in NaNoWriMo this year, I hope you met your goal and fell in love with your story – even if this draft might suck lol