Winning NaNoWriMo and Starting the Next Chapter

I told my therapist last week that I felt proud of myself for the first time in years because I challenged myself and succeeded. I rarely give myself a pat on the back as, like many creatives, I am my own worst critic. I signed up for NaNoWriMo this year because I would have the time for the remainder of 2020, so why not devote that time to work on a novel? I pledged to write every single day of November so that by the end of the month, I would have a working draft.

I missed three days of writing due to lack of motivation and I didn’t reach my word goal every day, but I managed to resist editing while I wrote. I mentioned in my previous post that I knew that part would be a challenge for me, but every time I would get that itch to scroll back up a few pages to reread something, I would tell myself that the mess you wrote doesn’t matter right now. Keep writing and come back to it in December. I managed to keep most of my drafts in one document, although I wrote a couple of chapters separately because they were scenes in my head that needed to be put down immediately. This was another technique that helped me finish NaNoWriMo. I kept a notebook beside me when I was writing on my laptop or watching TV. I would write down an idea or the beginning of a scene that would eventually grow into a few pages of scribbled text. It helped me add to my draft and saved me a lot of time.

I reached 50,336 words on November 28, 2020. I claimed my t-shirt and coffee mug (I’ll admit to being a sucker for nerdy merch), but most importantly, I had 110 pages of a novel! I wrote a novel, ya’ll!

From the author’s NaNoWriMo profile

Okay, it’s not quite finished. I prefer longer novels so I’ll be adding another 100 pages, but that’s also because I have much more story to tell. However, when I think about all the pages I’ve written, I can’t help but sit back and marvel at what I just did. I created a world from my head with unique characters and events that help move the narrative. I never knew that I had it in me until I put it on the page, and I even came up with another idea for a novel in the process. I can’t wait to start on another draft in the new year.

Speaking of 2021, I’ll be really glad when it starts. I don’t have to tell you what sort of year it’s been and even though I don’t know what next year will bring, I have a good feeling that it will be better because we all need to be better. I’ve decided to start with myself, so on January 1, 2021 I will begin a year-long journey of being alcohol free.

I don’t have a recurring alcohol problem, but I have found myself imbibing more as lockdowns continue and I have begun to notice how it affects my body. While I don’t drink beer as much as I used to, I do find myself drinking harder spirits like whiskies and gins more often. I have also found myself craving for a shot of something late at night, and I definitely don’t like that feeling. I’m known to be impulsive and act on instinct, and I don’t want to go down the road where what I enjoy becomes an addiction.

I am currently brainstorming how I will be sharing this challenge with ya’ll, whether it will be a weekly blog post or posting quick video updates to my Vimeo account (I should really put that thing to use). I will be posting updates to my Twitter, as well, if you would like to follow me there (link is in the sidebar). Either way, I’ll keep ya’ll in the loop with how I’m doing.

How did you do in NaNoWriMo? Let me know in the comments below. Even if you didn’t reach the 50k goal, you still wrote something down and that’s awesome!

I’ll leave you with a picture of my cat Archie showing off his balancing act.

Archie the Amazing / photo by author

2 thoughts on “Winning NaNoWriMo and Starting the Next Chapter

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  1. This is such a great achievement, well done! I don’t write much now but when I was working on longer stories I also found that using multiple documents worked for me so I didn’t get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of writing in the main document. It made it so much easier to refer back to specific scenes. Good luck with the alcohol free year as well!!

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