Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Winning NaNoWriMo

            On Saturday I hit the magic number – 50,000 words. That is what it takes to win at NaNoWriMo, National November Writing Month. Thousands of people around the world spend the entire month of November pounding away at their keyboards or sitting down with pen and tablet trying to write a novel of fifty thousand words.

 +           This year I won at NaNo for the fifth time. Hopefully it won’t be the last. The best part about doing a solid month of writing so much is that it means you have a good chunk of a novel done when you hit the last day of the month.  The bad part is that for me that is still only two thirds of the way and I still have a third to go to finish it, plus the editing process.

            But it can pay off. When I look back at my work over the five years I’ve taken part in NaNoWriMo, I see one book that has been published and another that is scheduled to release soon. That doesn’t even take into account two others that I am in the process of completing. And that is one of the big benefits of NaNo. Here are some of the other benefits and reasons I do it every year:

1.      You have a novel nearly completed with only editing and some additions to make. The words as there, the plot just needs to wrap up.

2.      You’re not alone. You can look at the website and see all the places around the world where people are taking part. We also have an active group writing here in Denver and there are always write-ins or writing sessions where you can go and commiserate with fellow writing addicts even late into the night.

3.      You end up with a sense of accomplishment at the end. I like that feeling I get every day when I fill in my totals and see it rise either to the bar that means I am keeping up with the daily word count you need to finish on time or go above it to give me some breathing room when I knew I couldn’t write all day.

4.      It provides a good refresher in how to keep writing fast.  There are times when I don’t write as much but when NaNoWriMo comes along, I know I will be plugging away at getting my fifty thousand words written so I have everything prepared and ready to go and just sit down and write. That is good practice for the rest of the year.

5.      It also provides a nice sense of accomplishment at the end of the month when I see what I can do if I only set my mind to it. Some days I wrote up to 4500 words, and that shows me I can do that if I have a story to tell and the will to do it.

This year my project was called Return to Redfern. It’s a follow up to my book that came out two years ago, Shadows from the Past. The big house I used in that book, Redfern Manor was one of those places I just couldn’t get out of my head. I had to go back so while my original heroine has moved on, I have someone else who is haunted by that place, and just has to go back.

In a few days I’ll be starting my edits on it, something I know I wouldn’t be doing if I hadn’t taken part in NaNoWriMo!

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