Nanowrimo: A Very Belated Post-Mortem

Back in November 2014, I tried my hand at Nanowrimo for the first time.  I’d always been interested in trying it, but knew for the most part it was out of my grasp.  I hadn’t had any of my stories in any sort of shape that I felt comfortable actually writing them.  That changed.

The event layout for Hunters was about as good as a plan would get for the narrative accompaniment of it.  It outlined every major event that was going to happen, and I was going to wing the rest.  Most of the time I do my best writing when I’m winging it with some vague point of destination in the distance, beckoning me with each step, each subtle or not-so-subtle hint I’d drop along the way for future revelations.

Then the first of November came around.  And boy did I procrastinate.  I must the queen of procrastination.  The website not-so-kindly reminded me that in order to complete the 50 000 words for the month, I had to write something like 1666 words a day.  Earlier in the year, on HabitRPG, I set myself to write 100 words a day, and even that was too much.

So I procrastinated… and procrastinated… three days went by.  On the fourth, after reading numerous tweets and HabitRPG guild updates about people writing, I sat down and practically willed my fingers to move on the keyboard.  Miraculously, they did.  Once I got going, not much stopped me.  I even resisted looking at Facebook and HabitRPG!  Must admit I was pretty proud of myself.  Normally I don’t write unless the mood takes me – a habit that I need to crack.  It took a few hours, but I wrote around 3000 words and was heading towards the first major catastrophe of the narrative.

It was then I hit an unmoveable object.  At that moment, I was not a force of nature, willing to grind against the wall and earn every centimetre I moved it.  For the rest of the month, my fingers didn’t move.  I wrote on my fanfiction, of course, but that was easy writing.  Forming everything from scratch took a lot of effort on my part, especially since I was writing in an unfamiliar way.  Usually I write third-person but with Hunters, I was trying to write in first person.  I wanted to be the main character, as if I was controlling him or her as I would in the game version of this story.  That and I endeavoured to keep the gender of the main character as vague as possible.  Two major challenges that eventually overwhelmed me.

In the future, I think I’ll participate in Nanowrimo, but at my own pace.  My brain can’t handle focusing on one thing for so long.  It likes to jump around like a rabbit and visit each hole where each of my stories are stored away, busy itself on that concept for a week or two, then bound to the next one.  Not to mention 50 000 words is an intimidating total, even if broken down into that 1666 words daily.

The only triumph I got from this exercise was that I have 3000 more words on the narrative of Hunters than I did before it.  And for that, I gave myself a huge pat on the back.

There are 6 comments

  1. snellopy

    Yeah, my attempts at nano always suck dead donkey reproductive parts. I’m much more of a panster than a plotter as well, as my memory is terrible, I can’t hold much of a plan in my head, and unwritten story before it all leaks out. What normally happens when I attempt nano is I start forgetting important elements, like the name of my main villain, or something equally necessary, then lose heart and give up. November is a brutal time as well.

    I’ve tried that most minor step that you can to get writing (open Google Docs or a draft email where I was composing a story), and it worked for a while for me, but then me being the lazy bugger I am, I defaulted to *just* opening it, ticking off the Daily and going “well, my work here is done, I am sure there’s some cat pictures that need looking at” and wandering off. I had the 10 words before lunch Daily from somewhere for a while, but due to my poor grasp of time and not wanting to break the flow when I was writing, I didn’t go check it off straight away, then later in the day couldn’t remember if I was remembering something from today or yesterday. 100 a day, 350 a day, or insert X number a day I’ve never had luck with. It’s either feast or famine – I either beat it by an order of magnitude or (far more likely) get hardly any done

    I was intending on getting my stuff together this year, but am still having website/credit card woes since Christmas, I haven’t done much writing (I’ll claim it’s vaguely due to work and discussions about houses but that’s not entirely true) and now it’s already February, what’s up with that?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Retridemption

      Maybe we should challenge each other? Like Aiseant and Peabody are doing at the moment in party? Or we should do a thing just you and me like I do for the Game Designers guild. Screenshot Sunday – take a picture of our progress every Sunday and post it up somewhere, in party or on our twitters, whatever. But the point is that we have to show some progress. Doesn’t matter if it’s writing down a plan, a plot, or actually writing, something!

      What do you think?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. snellopy

    Yeah mate, that sounds like a great idea. I have a google docs spreadsheet that I occasionally enter my typing for the day into, it hasn’t stuck as a habit yet, but this would help. I will aim for a conservative 2,500 a week on stories (not counting planning, editing or some flash fiction challenges I want to enter every week). I’ll mainly be working on weekdays only when at work (so won’t be able to start till after Tet). How’s that sound for you mate?


    1. Retridemption

      Lol, 2500 is conservative? Dang. I think I’ll barely get 100 done a week (with all my other stuff going on at the moment). But yeah, let’s do this challenge. We’ll post up a picture of our progress each Friday, since it’s the end of the working week?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. snellopy

    It’s a high conservative level, if I pay less attention to random internet stuff. It breaks down to 500 a day (but it won’t be, as always there will be days where work has to come first, or I’ll get distracted). Sounds good to me, I go back to work on Wednesday the 25th, so that Friday will be fine to begin, might as well start with a bang mate


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