Monday, October 29, 2012

I'm doing NaNo! What about you?

Yup, once more I have signed up for the mad dash that is NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. This is my second year participating and I really hope that it'll be as much of a success for me as last year was! Don't worry, I won't be bothering you with daily updates but I think I'll write a round-up post every Sunday about how I'm doing with the story, where I'm struggling, other random things I realized while writing etc.

A year ago, I was completely unsure whether or not to do NaNo. I had heard about it before but never had time to enter. Last year, after finishing my BA in the summer, I decided to go easy on the MA courses for a semester. So I just had to tell myself: Carmen, you will never again have as much time in November as you do now, so stop being a coward and just try! It turned out to completely change the way I think of myself as a writer. I was electrified, on fire! Writing was the most amazing feeling in the world and I got to do it every day! I walked with a spring in my step. I probably grinned like a fool in love. I connected with other writers on the NaNo forum and also met them for real life writing sessions. Talking about our books and doing word wars was so much fun!

I started with a goal of 30,000 words. I told myself that I could do 1000 a day. Well... about a week in, there was this crazy moment when I wrote 10,000 words in 2 days. I was excited about my project, which, by the way, had fooled me into thinking it was just a short story. It took me a while to admit to myself that it was actually a novel. I think without the story fooling me, I would have panicked at the thought of writing it. I had virtually nothing when I started apart form a scrap of paper with an idea written down two years earlier. During the whole time, I never wrote an outline. I can't. I don't know what happens next unless I put my fingers on those computer keys. Things show up in my head, I 'see' them before my eyes, I write them down.
At the end of the month, I had 66,000 words. Two months later, I completed my draft at 95,000 and had written another 10,000 from a different character's POV as a Christmas present for a friend.

And now comes my moment of shame. I wrote a novel draft in 3 months. But 9 months later, I am still not done with the first re-read / round of revisions. I find it so much harder. It's actual work rather than just the fun of writing. It makes me question myself and my story constantly, and I feel lost. Nevertheless, I want to finish that first re-read so I'm on top of what's happening again, because this year I want to write the sequel to last year's project. Hopefully, that will motivate me again so I can take up that draft with new energy and motivation and rework it in December while simultaneously finishing book 2.
Ambitious goals, I know.

What about you guys? Have you participated in NaNo before? What was your experience? Are you up for the craziness this year? Do you prepare yourself or do you just start from scratch on November 1?

I'd really like to connect to those of you who do NaNo! My username is ButterflyGhost - feel free to add me as a buddy or leave your own alias in the comments :) Also, if you have a separate blog dedicated to your NaNo project, feel free to leave me a link!

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