Takeaways from #NaNoWriMo 2016

When I started my NaNoWriMo project, I had mixed feelings. While I listened and nodded when the other GuelphWriMos spoke of 5K-word spurts and pulling all-nighters to achieve the ultimate goal of 50K words, I decided to be more realistic.

A linear pantser, I preferred to write sporadically, at most 1K words a day. My highest monthly count was 20K words.

Could I possibly make the leap from 20K words to 50K words and produce a “reasonable” first draft of A Different Kind of Reunion? And would I be able to write without stopping to edit the “hot mess” that would inevitably appear before me each day?

Just in case..I set my own private “hair” goals, a habit I had acquired after reading an inspirational column in The Globe and Mail.

Pixie Cut Goal — 30K words

Pageboy Goal — 40K words

Big Hairy Audacious Goal – 50K Words

bighairyTo my delight and astonishment, I wrote each day and achieved a final goal of 50,940 words, an average of 1,698 words per day.

Here are my takeaways from NaNoWriMo 2016…

  • I can stretch and write more than 1K words each day. In fact, on several days I wrote well over 2K words. Writing at specific times each day definitely helped. So did writing in split shifts. If I had limited time in the morning, I wouldn’t fret. Instead, I would write anywhere from 200 to 500 words and complete the rest in the evening before the midnight hour.
  • Planning ahead kept me on track throughout the month. In October, I created a chapter-by-chapter outline and character descriptions for A Different Kind of Reunion. Whenever I wavered, I would refer to my notes and return to the manuscript.
  • Rewards motivate me. And they don’t necessarily have to be tangible items. While I did purchase a journal at the 10K benchmark, I rewarded myself with experiences—Craft Shows—at the 20K and 30K benchmarks. At the 40K benchmark, I took advantage of Black Friday sales and purchased clothes. When I passed the 50K mark, I ordered my NaNoWriMo Winner t-shirt, and the universe rewarded me with a free psychic reading.
  • My well-honed left brain (I’m a math major) loves graphs and statistics. Each day, I looked forward to seeing my linear graph rise even higher on the my NaNoWriMo dashboard. And I appreciated the badges (4 Participation, 10 Writing, 7 Personal Achievement) I received throughout the month.
  • Sharing each step made me accountable. Friends—online and IRL—complimented and encouraged me along the way. Special thanks to my NaNo buddies, especially Peggy Jaeger and Cindy Carroll, and good friend Magda V, who honored my final achievement with a lovely card and assortment of David’s Teas.
  • I fell in love with the “hot mess” of 50,940 words and resisted any urges to edit along the way. In fact, I’ll have to wait until I fall out of love before starting the first round of edits.
  • Ideas are percolating for NaNoWriMo 2017—The Missing Gigolo, Book 4 of the Gilda Greco Mystery Series.

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16 thoughts on “Takeaways from #NaNoWriMo 2016

  1. Judy Penz Sheluk says:

    This is very inspiring to me, Joanne. I’m a pantser too. I’ve managed 2,000 words in a day, but often I’m at the 1,000 word mark or less. I’ve never done a chapter outline, but I am thinking of doing that for my next book. I’ve tried and failed at NaNoWriMo before, but I don’t think my heart was in it. I will do it in 2017 🙂 I think the hardest thing for me will be not to edit as I go. I’m an editor!!! But you can’t edit a blank page, as they say. Thanks for sharing your tips. I like the idea of split shift writing as well.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Joanne Guidoccio says:

      Good to see you here, Judy. I had never outlined before, but after taking an online prep course for NaNoWriMo, I decided to bite the bullet and just do it. Best move and essential if you want to write 50K words in a month. Resisting the urge to edit is difficult but once you do it, it is liberating. Hope to see you in NaNo 2017. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Mary Gillgannon says:

    Very impressed by your accomplishment, Joanne. So far I’ve never tried to do NaNoRiMo as I am not a fast writer and struggle to plot under the best circumstances. But maybe some year I’ll get the bug. Perhaps when I retire and actually have free time every day.

    Liked by 1 person

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