Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

A NaNoWriMo Winner is Me. But…

Posted by Rampant Coyote on November 28, 2017

Last year, I participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) for the first time, in spite of all kinds of misgivings. I did not “win,” but I came close. I’d started early, wrote 42,000 words in November, and finished at the end of the year. After some extensive revisions (because yes, it was a mess), I submitted it to a publisher, and it was accepted. I’m in the second round of editing on it right now, which means I have a love / hate relationship with the book. Yes, this is the second round of edits with a professional editor after I’d spent five months (on and off) revising the book and getting it as close to publication-ready as I could.

I guess there are a couple of morals to this story:

  1. “Winning” NaNoWriMo isn’t nearly as important as simply producing.
  2. It may be different for some pros, but for folks like me, the first draft of anything made during NaNoWriMo or any other time is probably unpublishable crap, and that’s okay. It’s simply the critical first stage of a process.

Capitalizing on my enthusiasm from my success “losing” NaNo, I started the sequel this year.¬†I have used NaNoWriMo to help push myself to complete it. The first draft is still about 12,000 words shy of completion (a little more than I anticipated), but I hit the 50,000 words written in November over the extended weekend, and could probably end up hitting 60,000 before Friday. It depends on how crazy the next three days are.

I’ll probably have a few more thoughts on the subject later (when I have time to write a post!), but what worked for me the first week has continued to work for me. Having an online writing partner and pushing each other has really helped the both of us. It’s a combination of commitment, accountability, and having someone to pace with.

Again, what’s the point?¬†Seriously, the whole “the world needs your novel!” crap at the nano website rubs me the wrong way. Maybe it’s motivational for some people, and that’s okay. But that kind of self-important ego-stroking makes it sound like cranking out 50k words is the be-all, end-all. It isn’t.

But a kick in the butt to push your limits, to work harder and more efficiently, and to achieve a concrete and reasonably challenging goal? I’m all for that. Getting a bunch of words down on virtual paper is a critical first stage, and it’s the easiest to track and measure. And the practice is absolutely a key part of improving your craft! Word count matters. So I consider it a worthwhile endeavor. While I hope to increase my productivity across the board for 2018, this will probably be something I will continue to do in 2018.

Now… on to REALLY finish the novel! And the next one!

(And if you are curious about what the newspaper clipping picture has to do with anything… well, it’s kind of a significant element of the first book…)

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