Monday, December 3, 2012

NaNo in Review (or 5 reasons I won for losing)

Let’s cut to the chase: I didn't win NaNo and that sucks. I lost the race and for a perfectionist-work-a-holic-type-A-personality-hot-mess like me it was a hard pill to swallow. On November 30th I looked something like this:

But I didn’t wallow in my sorrows for long. Ultimately, a lot of good came from my 30 days of writing abandon (even if it wasn’t words on the page). I figured I owed it to myself to be kind.

So, without further ado, here are the 5 reasons I won for losing NaNo:

1. I actually started a new WIP. I've labored over a project for a long time trying to get it *perfect*. Needless to say I was in too deep and needed some perspective. NaNo was the perfect writing vacation and it always feels good to start a shiny new project.

2. I learned I’m a Plotter in training. I always thought I was a plotter. All of my projects started as a short summary and built into an outline. I thought I was totally great at plotting…and then NaNo kicked me in the face. Something like this:

I was 15 days into my NaNo project and realized I had exhausted my plot. I needed more depth and I hadn't done enough prep. Lesson learned? I should take plotting more seriously for better productivity. I bought a few books to help and have been soaking up as much about plotting as I can.

3. I LOVE SCRIVENER. I had never used it before embarking on the NaNo project and I am madly in love. Maybe even stalker-restraining order-obsessed. Still, Scrivener is a very useful tool and I can’t see myself using anything else for my projects in the future.

4. I learned a lot from Tweeps. The writing community online is amazing and NaNo is 30 days where it truly shines. There were all sorts or tweets, blog posts, and stories online and on the NaNoWriMo site to offer insight, assistance, and encouragement to NaNo plebes like me. See my twitter feed for some of my favorite posts over the last 30 days.

5. Even though I failed to hit 50k I got words. On. The. Page. Yippie!

*F&@$ Yeah*

In true perfectionist-work-a-holic-type-A-personality-hot-mess I took on more than I could realistically deliver. I had one out of town trip, 1 party, several long days at work, 2 Thanksgivings (yummy), and 1 Half Marathon during November. It was a busy 30 days and I still managed to get 17,690 words. This month reminded me that there is never a *perfect* time or circumstance to write.

Writing requires discipline and commitment to yourself, your craft, your vision, etc. NaNo reminded me that I can do more than I thought. It’s a nice feeling.

What about you? What did you learn from NaNo?

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