Inside Look at a NaNo Journey: Part Four
I can’t believe that November is almost over. It doesn’t even seem real yet. Despite the fact that Thanksgiving has passed (don’t worry, I stayed home) and that the Christmas season can start full force, it is still unreal to me. (Although, that could just be that I’m in denial that we have been dealing with COVID allllll flipping year. But WHATEVER.
Anyway, I am here today for a last peek into my month. You’ve been with me since the beginning and I am honored to have been a part of the Mighty Pens in this way. It’s been fun, guys.
Week Four Update
50K BABY! That’s right. On November 25, 2020 at approximately 5:00 pm EST, I hit my NaNoWriMo goal. My next goal for the month is to update my word count every day, though, so I’m still writing after my win.
This week was pretty great for me in general. It was a little strange to stay home and cook Thanksgiving dinner by myself for just my partner and me, but everything turned out really well! Plus, it’s given me plenty of time to relax, since I don’t have to stress about traveling and seeing my family. 😂
I also am feeling pretty great about this story, too! Sure, a ton of it is messy and just basically word vomit, but I am finding that I just don’t care. I am more excited about the journey of this novel than I am scared of its terrible state right now. I can’t wait to really dive in and bring it to life. Plus, with how short (compared to the 140k behemoth that is one of my other stories) this draft is, I was able to write through a ton of it this month. I skipped a few sections, but I still wrote almost exclusively in chronological order and got all the way to my big finale.
This was such a fun year for me in general because I’m finally getting more involved in this awesome community! It seriously changes everything. Sprinting by myself on Twitter is alright, but it’s nowhere near as motivating as spriting with friends.
Special shoutout to Breanna Broad (who you might have seen around here before, because she is a fellow volunteer!) for sprinting with me and pushing me all the way to my goal! If you’re looking for some extra motivation this weekend, she’ll be hosting her last Zoom sprints this at 3:00 pm EST on both Saturday and Sunday! Come join us!
ALSO. After winning, I cashed in a few pledges and now I’m feeling pretty good about my fundraising efforts. (Make sure to have your friends and family donate by the 30th so you can get in on the prizes, too! We’re so close to our $10k goal!)
What Comes Next?
The age-old question: what next? NaNoWriMo starts its tradition of the “Now What Months” in February, I think. But what does that really mean? How do you take a messy partial draft and turn it into a real story?
The simple answer is a lot of work.
Everyone is going to be a little different, but here is what my next steps looks like:
- Finish the first draft by the end of this year
- Take a long break and go back to another story
- Really nail down my characters and plot before rewriting
- Rewrite the draft and what happens from there
Like I mentioned, your process is probably wildly different than mine, so you really need to figure out what’s going to be best for you. If you worked too hard in November and are about ready to burn out, you probably need a break. If you’re still in the zone, then keep going!
I am personally on a roll and I only want this draft to be around 80k words total. That means an average of around 800 words per day until the end of the month. I feel like I can totally do that! I’m not going to stress about it, though, because there are other things that need my attention this month, too (like catching up on my Goodreads challenge). So even if I don’t finish it by the end of December, I am more than happy to finish it in January.
After this draft, though, it’s time to take a hard look at my characters and plot. This is beneficial for even pantsers to do after a first draft. Even if plotting isn’t your cup of tea, defining your main character’s arc can help you build a more impactful story. I have really high hopes for this story and for me, that success won’t come without killer main character growth.
When you figure out your timeline, set a few goals for yourself, so you don’t just let this story sit forever. I believe in you! And you should for sure keep in touch. I’m hoping to see a lot of Mighty Pens around the internet over the course of the next year to keep me motivated even when it’s not November! If you’re in the same boat, look me up. I am always down for sprints. 😉
I hope you finish this month out with a bang! I’ll see you on the other side.