Welp! I finished with 3 hours and 10 minutes to spare. This was lucky #13 for me with NaNo's main event. I've also done Camp NaNo five times and Script Frenzy I think twice. I don't think I've ever cut things quite this close before!
Thank you @TopNotch @PetiteSheWolf @Storm
for the encouragement!
I am definitely a planner! I don't always write down an outline before beginning drafting a writing project, but I definitely like to have one mapped out in my head. I'd meant to have a solid outline going into NaNo this year. But the project I chose to work on is an ambitious one for me. I was already behind in my planning work when Trudy took sick, and then I got close to nothing done on my writing during her final days. I'm not sorry about this in the slightest. I am very grateful I was able to spend that time with Trudy. But it did mean I hit November 1st not at all ready to work on the project I had declared and also with no backup project in mind.
I considered cancelling my plans to participate in NaNo at all this year. But I'd already declared a project and told people I was doing it, and I didn't have any other plans lined up writing-wise for the month. So I decided to give it a go. I'd fallen away from my writing entirely for three years and just got back into it earlier this year and was still working on getting back into a regular writing habit. I figured doing NaNo would help with that, even if the words I got out of it were a total mess (which they were) so I stayed in.
I didn't finish the project I started the month with, however. I'm really not a discovery writer. I like to know my route in advance, and I absolutely edit my work as I go, right down to carefully deliberating over word choice in my first draft. It's a slow writing process. I participate in NaNo in part to see if I can find ways to speed up. But I like the results I get out of my process. I don't like spending an entire month writing gibberish that's such a mess I don't even know how to begin editing it.
When I write using my usual, tried and true, edit-as-I-go method, my revision of my first draft is nothing more for me than tightening up my prose a bit and fixing typos. I like working this way! I took a writing craft course my senior year of high school in which we were required to hand in both our first draft and final revision for each assignment. But my writing process was the same back then as the one I use now: map out the entire story in my head in advance and edit it, word-for-word as I go while writing it. I completed every assignment in the course that way and then, on the day the assignment was due, I would copy out my "final" printed draft by hand, intentionally making mistakes and crossing things out, and then hand in the handwritten, intentionally messy copy as my "first draft". (I think I even told the teacher up front that I was going to have to do that if she wanted to see two different drafts of the same piece of writing out of me. Perhaps she did not believe me?)
For this year's NaNo, I did write a few scenes at the beginning of the month on my original project idea that I thought might work well. But things went downhill from there. After I wrote a scene in which my protagonist participated in a virtual game of squash against an unknown opponent while holed up on a space station in quarantine as a means to trying to find out if her nemesis was on the station with her I knew I was in trouble. (This story isn't meant to have anything at all to do with the game of squash or with VR games in general or with life on a space station, and the person she ended up playing squash against turned out not
to be her nemesis, and the whole "you have to go through quarantine before being allowed to immigrate to the planet's surface" bit should have been summed up in one sentence.) So mid-month I officially declared myself a NaNo rebel so I could work on multiple different projects instead of continuing to struggle for words like pulling teeth on a project I just am not ready to write yet.
So I wrote 50K words this month, but not all on the same project, and I cannot exactly say that I developed a "regular" writing habit either since I had to push so hard at the end of the month and work at a rate that is definitely not sustainable long-term for me. But I do feel ready to get back into writing tomorrow at a sustainable pace using a structured approach (as opposed to this month's scattershot "oh look! here's a story seed I can spew out a couple thousand words about quickly!" mayhem). And my writing muscles do feel warmed up now and better conditioned than they were at the start of the month. So I'll call this year's NaNo a success in these regards.
@TopNotch @Haleth @Storm
I'm glad NaNo was also a success for each of you (even if not in the "traditional" sense for some of us). At the end of the day (month!) I think if NaNo enhanced your creativity, it was a worthwhile endeavour, regardless of one's final wordcount.