So NaNo is over for 2015.
My final word count was 77,092. Largely because I wrote over 13,000 words yesterday whilst I was flying between Adelaide and Singapore.
It was a very productive day.
I didn’t actually do any writing last week, hence the absence of updates. I was getting ready for Singapore, I spent the first half of the week in bed with a migraine, and to be completely honest I just didn’t feel like it.
I wasn’t motivated. I realised that I needed to change some pretty big things in my story, and the NaNo strategy of ‘just ignore it and fix it later’ just wasn’t working for me. By the time I hit 50k I had around 10,000 words in my ‘discard after NaNo’ folder that were only there to count towards my total. People across the Adelaide forums and Facebook page were debating whether or not plotting could count as NaNo words, what to do when you found plot holes 40,000 words into your novel, and general tips and tricks to hit the 50,000 words.
I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with this, but I just realised that it wasn’t what I wanted to get out of NaNo.
I wasn’t doing NaNo to write a lot of words (even though I did). I didn’t want to take shortcuts to hit the 50k, particularly not shortcuts that were going to make the editing process more difficult.
I didn’t actually care about the word count, I cared about the writing.
Yes, obviously having 77,000 words at the end of November on the NaNo website counter is nice.
Yes I will use the winner’s discount to repurchase Scrivener.
Yes the certificate is nice.
But it’s not why I write. I don’t write to be the person who wrote x number of words in a day. I don’t write to watch the ‘you won’ video at the end of November and then put away my plotting until next October rolls around. I don’t even write to be part of a community.
I write because I want to be an author. I want to publish my books. I want people to pick them up and read them and enjoy them.
I’m not saying you can’t be an author if you do NaNo, that’s absurd. Of course you can.
I’ve just come to realise that for me, NaNo doesn’t represent my goals.
What does it matter if I write 50,000 or 75,000 or 100,000 or even 1,000,000 words in November if I don’t write for the rest of the year?
What does it matter if I finish November with a completed first draft if it then takes me a year to edit it into something that resembles a valid second draft/manuscript/document to send to beta readers?
So now it’s December, and most NaNo-ers will be hanging up (metaphorically) their keyboards and returning to their ‘normal’ lives.
I’m setting myself a new challenge. A better one.
I want to write everyday. It doesn’t have to be 1,667 (although my goodness imagine how productive I’d be if I did!). I just need to write. Gets words out. Work on my story until it’s ready to be edited.
It will be harder than NaNo, much, much harder. Some days I won’t have motivation. Some days I won’t want to. Some days I won’t feel like I have the time. But those are the days that are the most important to write on.
Those are the days that will mean that one day, some time in the future, I’ll hold a published copy of MY writing in my hands.
So November is over. But my writing has only just begun…