A nanowrimo winner

Winner-2014-Facebook-ProfileThis afternoon, at a local write-in, I passed the 50k mark on my novel. That means that in 21 days I’ve written 50,886 words of a story.

Now I’ve done nano two or three times before, but this time feels a little different. The first time, I ended up with a full story but had no idea what to do with it, other than knowing it wasn’t fit for anyone to read. The second time, I learned that I enjoy writing for multiple characters, but that ten was too many, that conflict is essential for an entertaining story, and that if I’m emotionally involved in the story the writing flows better. The third time, I learned that planning is the key to a higher quality plot, and that support from other writers is a real incentive to keep going.

This time, I’ve worked from a clear plot, but with freedom to work within it. I’ve written for seven main characters. I’ve worked at a steady pace of between 2-3k words per day, every day, apart from a couple when time was too tight and I only managed around 1k, and one day when I attended a full day write-in and made 9k. I’ve built up a steady rhythm. I’ve discovered that twenty minutes at a time is an effective way to write, and I don’t need to have a huge chunk of time to make writing worthwhile. I’ve remembered just how wonderful it feels to have my brain totally engaged in a different world from reality, and how hard it can be to jump mentally from one to the other. I’ve rediscovered the fun of writing. For the first time, I’ve finished with a draft that I know is incomplete but with a good idea of what I need to do to build it up. I’ve hit the 50k target, and I haven’t destroyed the world or vowed never to look at the file again. I’m eager to keep going, and to start polishing and developing what I have. More than anything, I’m fond of my characters and eager to develop their stories.

So now I can use all these reference books on writing that I’ve amassed, in order to develop different aspects of my writing, because I can see what needs to be done and I have somewhere to apply the knowledge. I can keep building this story up, and when I’ve had enough for a while I’ll switch back to last year’s and work on that some more.

Most of all, I’ve realised that writing is for my brain and emotional health what running is to my body and physical health – even though I might sometimes resent time given up to it or feel guilty about taking the time for it, I always enjoy it once I get started, and I know that without it I will start to feel bad.

So I think that all makes me a true nanowrimo winner!


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