After the fifteenth—and, if I’m being painfully honest with myself, a little before then— it was made abundantly clear to me that there was no path to 50,000 words for me this year. Between a six-day workweek at my day job, the promises I made to critique others’ work, and having written past the point I’d planned out, I struggled to form words even for this blog post (which is why it’s so late!).
But I won’t count this week as a loss. Progress is progress, right? Every day of NaNoWriMo teaches something new, and I’ll sum up those lessons and share those for you now.
Don’t get me wrong—I’ve pantsed things before. That was my whole process from the time I was ten years old all the way through high school. I am perfectly capable of winging it when I need to be.
But that method didn’t jive with this story at this time. I stuttered and second-guessed my way through a chapter and a half before saying, “No, Megan, stop. The rest of November is going to have to be outlining what’s coming next.” My twice-weekly virtual write-ins became the only things that added actual, readable words to the page.
Which is to say that despite these low, low numbers, I got quite a bit done. It just won’t be reflected in the final word count.
Words Added During Week 3: 2,935
Words Added During Week 4: 844
TOTAL WORD COUNT FOR NANOWRIMO 2020: 18,515
Many, many author friends have suggested that I include what I write in brackets in my word count. I have steadfastly refused to do this because I did not consider those “real words.” Or, worse—if I dared consider those “real words,” then I was definitely not adhering to the spirit of NaNoWriMo, which is to start the drafting process on November 1.
But then again, aren’t I a #NaNoRebel anyway?
I’ll be honest—I don’t know what NaNoWriMo will look like for me going forward. I will always participate in the madness that comes around every November in some way, shape, or form. That comes with the gig of being Writer’s Atelier‘s administrative assistant. But it’s also just plain fun to be a part of that community.
An Instagram acquaintance and fellow writer named Isla Fynn started what she calls a 30×30 challenge, during which one writes for thirty minutes every day for thirty days. I like this quite a bit, and I’m considering this approach for 2021.
I guess we’ll have to wait and see what I do! What, did you think I plan ahead? Oh, no. Although I’m pretty sure I know what project is coming up next…
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