Looking Back On NaNoWriMo

This time five years ago I was halfway through my inaugural attempt at NaNoWriMo, and halfway through writing my first ever novel-length writing project. It was the culmination of a few weeks of late-night planning of something great, and ultimately what I would say is the first big “event” that signposted my taking “this writing thing” as a serious endeavour.

I’ve attempted and completed NaNoWriMo three times; each successive time I learned something I didn’t know from the previous effort – to break my work into chapters, to have an outline prepared, and to be absolutely committed and have a rough roadmap of my story before November 1st. I really think that, as an event, it’s a great way to jumpstart one’s creativity, and to turn those eminently-latent thoughts of that novel you always wanted to write into something material. There’s also an awesome, supportive community that breaks down that barrier of writing being a solitary and exclusionary practise.

I’m not doing NaNoWriMo this year; I’ve always been a proponent of business being an actual help to the writing process, but my university studies are quite intensive at the moment as I’m still fully transitioning to full-time education after years away, so I can’t really pillage time from my schedule for NaNoWriMo this year; at any rate, I want to write my post-apocalyptic novel The Thaw and my outline is nowhere near ready for the actual drafting to begin. I want to really harness that frenetic, creative energy to get the project off to a good start.

I always see NaNoWriMo as an opportunity, too, to tweak and further optimise one’s workflow, as productivity is key. The one aspect of NaNoWriMo that I found the most motivating was updating my spreadsheet to see my progress claw toward the goal of 50,000 words, and in a way, I find having such a crazy deadline brings about the most unexpected, and enjoyable, bouts of creativity.

I’m working right now on some ideas and plans for next year; I want to also reflect on this year as a whole – looking back on my resolutions, I’ve not kept to them particularly well, so I want to reflect on why that is and how I can look to better my outlook in 2016, and this will include the questions as to what is ultimately going to happen to my three partially-completed manuscripts that I wrote in those three heady Novembers. Happy writing!

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