Monday, December 11, 2017

NaNoWriMo 2017

Let's talk about NaNo. 

This year's NaNo....it was rough. Really, really rough. It was nothing like I'd planned going in. I had all these grand intentions of writing 60K, of finally fleshing out a story that I'd been dreaming of, of somehow meeting my goal ahead of time instead of having to cram and stress and lose sleep. 

....Let's just say, that's not exactly how things went down. 

This November, I wrote 50,036 words.

And that's not a bad number, it's really not. I completed my goal of writing 50K in a month, and that's really the most important thing. I got the words down on the page, and that's what matters. But it was a messy, messy month, and I've got to say that overall, it was nowhere near the fantastic experience that last year's NaNo was. 

The thing is, I can't exactly put my finger on why. Why was it such a mess? Honestly, I feel like it was a bit of the perfect storm. I really was struggling with my plot. I didn't outline going in, and then I was under such a time crunch that I really couldn't think everything through, I just had to write. If I'd been able to think things through more, I think that I'd be happier with the end product. There were so many things going on with school and dance and people, and I really never got a chance to start writing before ten or eleven pm every night. And honestly? My brain was just a mess. Things were overwhelming and even though I did make it, I don't think that I did it well. It's not a first draft that I look back on with a huge amount of excitement. Last year, I was obsessed with my novel. And this year, I'm just not. In reality, I really miss my last novel. It stole my heart in a way that this one just...hasn't yet.

So, I don't know. I don't know exactly how I'm going forward. I know that I want to finish this draft, because I can't stand having things left unfinished. But I don't know when exactly I'm going back to it. In complete honesty, I haven't touched the draft since NaNo ended. Frankly, I haven't had the time, and I think that I needed a bit of a breather from it. So I'm looking forward to being able to go over the draft with fresh eyes. I just haven't decided yet when that's going to happen. 

I do know that as difficult as this NaNo was, it taught me a lot of things. So, in the interest of remembering for the future, and hopefully helping someone out along the way, let's look over everything I've learned. 

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1. Plot Plot Plot Plot Plot

On the few instances that I was able to pre-plot my novel, the writing process went SO much more smoothly. If I didn't have a plot already decided upon, I was lost and miserable. Moral of the story, future Grace Anne, please, for the love of your sanity, PLOT YOUR NOVEL. 

2. Word Wars Save The Day

I don't know how I would have survived NaNo without word wars. Shoutout to my AMAZING friends Aimee and Gabriela for warring with me the entire month. You two are the reason that I made it through the month, and I am SO thankful for you!! 

3. Time Management is Key

There's nothing like writing 50,000 words in a month to test your time management skills. And sometimes, those time management skills mean a  little less sleep in order to get the words in, and sometimes, for a month, that's okay. You've gotta do what you've gotta do, y'know? 

4. You're Capable of More Than You Think

Like I said, I really didn't think I would make it through this one. It felt really good to prove to myself that yes, if I keep pushing, I can do it. I'm proud of myself for not giving up on it, even when it was really difficult. 

5. Doing Things Alone is Stupid

When it comes to life in general, I'm really more of a solitary creature. I love people, but I generally prefer working alone. It's so much fun, however, and so much more productive, if you work alongside people. Again, shoutout to Aimee and Gabriela, as well as Abi, for being amazing this past NaNo! I don't know how I would have gotten through the month without you wonderful humans. 

6. If You Don't Understand Your Characters, Writing is Impossible

I think that one of my biggest issues was that I didn't understand my characters well enough going in. This kind of came with the territory of not plotting enough, but I think that writing would have gone much more smoothly had I understood my characters more deeply going into the month. 

7. S P O T I F Y

Spotify focus playlists are killer, as is instrumental Sleeping At Last music. It helped me to maintain a semblance of sanity. 

8. It's Okay Not to Be Perfect

I know that I preach a lot on here about how you don't have to be perfect and you should stop putting crazy amounts of pressure on yourself, but when it comes to actually living that out, I'm the WORST. One of the things that I really had to come to terms with this NaNo is that I can't do everything, no matter how hard I try. I'm only human, and sometimes, I can't write as many words as I want to or do as well as I'd hoped or even just knock everything off of that day's to-do list. And that's okay. It's not the end of the world. It's a work in progress, but November was a good reminder of this. 

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And, per tradition, some of the lovely tweets that went out through the month of craziness...

aww look how innocent

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So, there you have it! The craziness of NaNo 2017! Did you do NaNo? How did it go for you? I want to hear all about it! I'm hoping to be more active in the blogging world again now that Christmas break is a thing- I don't quite know what to do with myself now that I actually have free time. SO SEND ME YOUR LINKS! Tell me all the things! Catch me up!!

38 comments:

  1. "There's nothing like writing 50,000 words in a month to test your time management skills." I've not done 50,000 words in a month, but I blogged every day all October, and I can totally second this statement, hahaha!

    I loved the tweets ;). I am so bad at keeping up with twitter, the last half of them were new to me, even though I follow you, haha...

    Blessings, Bri
    www.forget-not-his-benefits.blogspot.com

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    1. Oh wow, blogging every day is very impressive! Go you!!

      Ahaha, I'm so glad that you enjoyed them!

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  2. Loved your Twitter updates. Enjoy your break now!

    Hailey
    www.haileyhudson.wordpress.com

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  3. Awesome! Congrats on nano!You've done it! I love these tips, many of them you can apply to just life in general haha! Your tweets are the best! <3

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    1. Thanks so much, V! Ahaha, yes, they really can kind of apply to anything! And you are too sweet. <3

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  4. Your tweets made me laugh...seriously so good. But seriously, congrats on getting over 50,000 words. That is quite impressive!!

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    1. Ahaha, I'm so glad! xD Thank you so much, Lauren, you are too kind!!

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  5. even if it didn't go the way you planned, you still did it!! congratulations!!

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  6. Congratulations on hitting 50K, even if it's not what you had planned. And those tweets are the best XD

    - Maddy | littlebitofsunshineweb.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you so much, Maddy! Ahahaha, I'm glad that my desperation could make you laugh xD

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  7. Grace Ann, I feel you. I have barely touched my story since NaNo finished, just when I thought, "Yeah, I can totally write after NaNo ends. It'll be no problem at all."

    Right.

    And all your lessons, goodness. I found myself nodding as I read, "Yes, that was me too. Yes."

    Moving on...

    I never tried word wars, but goodness, they sound awesome. Spotify is a life-saver. *nods* I wrote a bit about my NaNo experience (which I'll say was 50 / 50), on my blog. I'll link it below, if you're curious. It's too long to list all of it here.

    Can't wait to see all your December blogging, you have no idea how happy I was to see your post pop up in my feed. : )

    cheers.
    k.
    What I learned from My First NaNoWriMo

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    1. Goodness, it is so encouraging to know that I'm not the only one in this boat. I STILL haven't touched my manuscript. I've really got to get on that in the new year.

      You really should try word wars! They're wonderful. DM me if you ever would like to war sometime! I'm still trying to learn how to make the perfect playlists for writing- Abbie's really the queen of that.

      I cannot wait to read your NaNo post! I am SO behind on blog reading, it's rather atrocious, if we're being honest.

      You are too kind, Keira. :) Thank you for always bringing a smile to my face!

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  8. Well done on winning Nano again this year. You did win last year right? I attempted but only managed about 15,000 words. I could not fully commit due to university being so busy but at least I wrote something. Well done again.

    Joanny
    imachocakeaholic.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Thank you, Joanny! Yes, I did win NaNo last year as well. :) Congratulations on your 15K! It's so great to get words down, no matter what the word count ends up.

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  9. CONGRATULATIONS ON THE WIN! Also I feel you, my novel is just kind of sitting there, slowly catching dust. But after the tiring November, I just can't bring myself to pick it up.

    ALSO I TOTALLY MISS YOU FRIEND, I feel like I haven't been on your blog in forever!

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    1. EEP THANK YOU NOOR!!!!

      I hope that you're able to get back in the swing of things soon! It's rough getting back into writing after NaNo, isn't it?

      I MISS YOU TOO! I've been meaning to stop by your blog for ages, but I've just been so horribly absent lately. I really need to do some catching up!

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  10. There is nothing wrong with taking a bit of a break from your manuscript! You worked hard and won NaNo, and that's really awesome! :) I totally agree that plotting your novel is so essential. It's something I reaaaally struggle with, but is also something I learned during this year's NaNo. PLOTTING SAVES LIVES, YO. And thank you for the reminder that we don't have to be perfect. Needed to hear that!

    PS "Your work does not equal your worth." AMEN. Can I get that printed on a T-shirt?!

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    1. You are such an encouragement, Erin!!! SO GLAD I'm not the only one who desperately needs to plot. It's hard to do in the moment, but gosh it makes life easier.

      I so need that on a t-shirt. xD I swear that I have to remind myself of that constantly.

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  11. I totally feel you, girl! And congratulations on making it, your dedication was admirable! All the past NaNoWriMos I have managed time so well (I even did a complete 75k book one year) and this year was just different. I will say one thing, good friends and a supportive writing community were so key in making it to the end. 😊

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    1. Thank you so much, Emily! Woah, 75K in one month? That's incredible! Some years really are just rougher than others. Thank goodness for friends, right?

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  12. THOSE TWEETS = MY LIFE

    Girl, I can't even begin to describe how much I related to this post. YOU WERE ABLE TO PUT MY EXPERIENCE INTO WORDS BETTER THAN I DID. I mean, yes it feels good to win, but my overall book is kinda poop. All the characters seem blah and nothing really happens besides people giving each other the death glare.

    Oh well. I'm just hoping that when I take a break from it and come back to the editing phase, everything will turn out better.

    BUT ANYWHO. CONGRATULATIONS MY FRIEND! I'm sure your book is amazing just like you. <3 I think we all need to give ourseleves a little credit- we wrote a book and that's all that matters. Now go treat yo' self. ;)

    xx Kenzie

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    1. GIRL YOU FEEL ME.

      Honestly please get a Twitter. You would make the Twitter world so wonderful.

      I'M SO GLAD THAT I'M NOT ALONE WOW. It was a rough month, wasn't it? Thank the Lord for editing, because I think that we're going to need a lot of it.

      THANK YOU MY LOVELY FRIEND! You are forever so encouraging. I LOVE YOU!!!

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  13. Hey Grace! I tagged you for the Winter/Christmas Tag on my blog :)! I love reading your blog, and thought you might enjoy doing this tag, as you were hoping to blog more during Christmas :)...
    Blessings, Bri
    forget-not-his-benefits.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you for the tag, Bri! I'll be sure to check it out. :)

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  14. Man I feel you. This past NaNo was super hard for me as well, and for similar reasons. I plotted and kinda knew my characters, but the more I got into it, the more I realized how little I actually knew about my world. >.<'
    HEY BUT ITS OVER AND WE BOTH SURVIVED. *clapping emoji because we're alive* XD

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    1. Next year, can we please agree to start plotting like, two months in advance??

      BUT HALLELUJAH WE'RE ALIVE!

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  15. I think nano was just a mess for everyone this year. I've been seeing these kinds of posts basically everywhere in the blogosphere (except from Katie Grace who is THE SUPERHERO OF NANO) (#punintended).

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    1. Katie Grace is THE QUEEN. But it really does seem like it was a rough year for a lot of us. Here's hoping next year is much better!!

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  16. Congrats to you on finishing NaNo!! DOn't let anything steal the joy of such an awesome accomplishment!! And don't worry too much about this novel not stealing your heart like last time ... it's the mark of a REAL writer that you wrote the whole 50k even when it wasn't easy!! Anyone can do something when its fun ... serious writers have to dig a little deeper and write on the bad days, too. So don't feel like being discouraged makes you a bad writer!! It's actually totally the opposite! Just keep going and working and gritting your teeth and pounding the keys ... and know that you are on the right track, and you are learning lots, and you are building all kinds of writing stamina and great future habits!! You rock!! :D

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    1. Thank you SO MUCH for this comment, Olivia. It was seriously SUCH an encouragement to me- I can't tell you how much I appreciate it. SENDING YOU ALL THE HUGS <3<3<3

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  17. AHHHHH YOU ARE EPIC AND AWESOME!!! *high fives* I've had this post minimized for days and I finally got a chance to read it so YAY <3 IT IS LOVELY. Your list of things to remember next time = SPOT ON. And those are all things I need to remember too haha... except for the plotting one because I actually plotted A TON before heading into November and oh my gosh it paid off SO MUCH. Also I totally feel ya about working alone! IT'S PROBABLY AN INTROVERT THING HAHA ;)

    Honestly what you said about going over a draft with fresh eyes... SO IMPORTANT. It's really amazing what a month or two of distance can do for editing/critiquing your own work. (Good and bad ways haha...sometimes it's better than you thought! and sometimes it's worse than you thought *nervous laughter*) BUT YES I'M SURE YOUR MANUSCRIPT IS SO MUCH MORE AWESOME THAN YOU THINK AND I HOPE I GET TO READ IT ONE DAY BECAUSE I WOULD BASICALLY SACRIFICE MY LEFT KIDNEY TO READ A BOOK BY YOU <333333333333

    love you GA!!!! *hugs*

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    1. I'M SO HONORED TO HAVE BEEN ON THE ABBIE EMMONS TO-READ LIST xD :') <3

      You are THE QUEEN of plotting. I'm so curious about your novel, oh my goodness. It sounds like the absolute loveliest novel in existence.

      Looking at a novel after a long break is SO SCARY. Goodness. This is not one I'm looking forward to reading over. xD *nervous laughter* BUT YOU ARE JUST TOO KIND OH MY GOODNESS. <3<3<3 coming from the writing queen herself, that is the ultimate honor.

      I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  18. CONGRATS girl! I didn't make it through Nano this year...I made it through pointe class and keeping up with my local business *sniffs*. It wasn't my year...I could feel it.
    It's so great to finish something, so congratulations *throws book confetti*
    Michaila
    seventytimeseven.com

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    1. Girl, good for you, though, for rocking the pointe and business work! Those are both SO crazy to take on, and I know that you rocked them. <3

      THANK YOU, FRIEND!

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  19. hey grace anne i'm just here to say i'm really really proud of you for finishing and winning nano and pushing through it

    i didn't do nano and I barely survived november so i'm vvv impressed

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    1. *casually cries*

      YOU ARE THE SWEETEST, HANNE!!! <3<3<3

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