50,000, 50K, fifty-thousand. No matter how you write it, it’s a big number, well, as long as you’re not talking sports salaries anyway. I crossed the finish line of NaNoWriMo this evening at 10:43PM EST.
This being my first ever NaNoWriMo, I didn’t have a clue what to expect. When I started out, I didn’t even know if I’d finish, and crossing that line tonight, I didn’t know what I’d feel when it happened. You know what I feel? Elated, satisfied, exhausted, surprised, and most of all, confident that I can do this if I really stick with it. You see, even though 50,000 words is a lot of words, and it really is, it’s ~200 pages in a standard print paperback, I still have a LOT of work ahead of me.
I’m about half-way through my outline, which has had some major revisions as I went along, and I don’t want to cop out on the ending either, so I can’t just make one up and tack it on. I built this story backwards from the ending so all the pieces would fit, and I can’t, in good conscience cheat myself of that effort. Not at this stage where I’m still working on the process of how I’m going to do things.
Once I have the story completed, I have to start making it readable by other people. There’s a few pieces here and there that turned out ok in what’s done of the first draft, but a lot of it needs some heavy revision, and back-filling of details and descriptions. Something tells me “They Fight” isn’t going to get anyone’s heart racing. Oh, and some of my dialog is dreadful!
So I mentioned that this was my first year doing NaNoWriMo, well, it certainly won’t be the last if I have anything to say about it. I’ve learned SO MUCH from this endeavor that I can’t imagine not doing it again next year to learn some more.
Working with the deadline of 50,000 words in 30 days means you have to get ~1,667 words written per day. That means you have to either find a few really great days for writing, or do what I did and set aside an hour or two each evening to work on it. That process, that dedication of time and forming the habit of pushing forward was the biggest step forward for me.
My biggest problem before this event was the endless revisions I would do on the first 2-3 chapters of the book, all the while expanding and expanding on the world building and outlining. While self revision is a great thing, nothing I ever write would be anything but eye-bleedingly bad without it, if I had kept allowing myself to do it, I would never have come close to 50,000 words. It was the first hurdle I had to cross, and it took me nearly a week to get past it and get my butt in gear on the rest of the story.
I’ll try to do more blog posts as I go about this process, to let you know what I’m learning along the way. As for this blog post being a bit of a train wreck. Tonight I’m ok with that, I can always come back and revise it later 😉