Day 13 was the last day I posted an update to this blog as it was also the last day I actually did anything with NaNoWriMo.
I have a lot of regret that I didn’t meet my goal, but I learned quite a bit along the way as well. I’m hoping that these lessons may help me next year and help others when November comes around again.
- Life Preparation: It’s really easy to pick up a pad of paper or open an editor on November 1st and think “I’ve got this!”. The problem is that you have a month to write 50,000 words and you have to come up with a game plan before November 1st. You have to do everything you can to make sure your schedule is clear and that others who depend on you are aware of your limited availability. You need to put a structure in place, because things get hectic without one.
- Story Preparation: This is the one thing I actually did, but I didn’t do it enough. The idea is to write the novel in a month, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start doing some outlines and coming up with ideas before November. I had come up with ideas, but I also put off a lot of brainstorming and research until the contest kicked off. My story required a great deal of research to make it more factual and entertaining, which chewed up a lot of my writing time. It’s also hard to write after you’ve spent several hours reading research material.
- Flexible Goals: This could go with the first bullet, but the idea is to set smaller goals. I did this to a degree, using the suggested 1,667 words per day. The problem this made is that any idea where I didn’t meet my daily goal, I felt depressed and inadequate. Yes, that’s my own mental issues playing a role in my failure, but it made me feel like I had lost the contest on the first day I didn’t do what I had expected to do. Next year, I will outline word goals for specific days of the month. I will keep the 1,667 as something I’d like to reach, but my bigger target will be the larger number at the end of each week.
- Mental Road Blocks: This isn’t a lesson that I’ve learned as much as it’s something I’m now painfully aware of. I’ve yet to figure out how to solve this problem, but I’m more aware of it now than before. My self-esteem and self-doubt played a huge role in my failure this month. I just didn’t “feel” like writing sometimes, and each time I drilled down to find that I didn’t feel like it would’ve made any difference. I do suffer from depression, though I don’t show it much in person. It’s there though and it seems to lash out from the depths I keep it and sabotage my goals. I plan on enlisting some professional help to deal with it, so maybe that will be the solution.
All in all, what I do have is a partially-written story. I might make it available under license for everyone to read, but not yet. The failure of this year’s NaNoWriMo is affecting me, and it’s still too soon to allow for criticism.
Thanks again for all the support, and I hope to see everyone back here in November 2013.