Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Week Four (aka: The End!)

I'm now done with NoWriMo! Hooray! I spent the month of June writing about 1,667 words each day and have now completed a novel of at least 50,000 words. More specifically, my book is 17 chapters and 51,275 words- wahoo!

The last week of writing was particularly challenging. I was behind at the end of last weekend and I fell further behind throughout the week. I had fewer commitments outside of work this week than in the two preceding weeks, but I was also way more tired and less driven to write. Getting myself to work on it was quite a challenge. I didn't write anything on Thursday or Friday. That meant I had 6,000 words to complete on Saturday. YIKES! I had never done that many words in one day before and I was a little worried I wouldn't be able to get it done. The good news is, at least for me, the excitement of being almost done made it quite a bit easier to really get focused. I also learned that my strategy from last weekend (writing while watching tv - stupid, I know) was less effective than the strategy Chris Baty recommends (write, then take breaks to watch tv).

One big surprise for me as things wound down was how quickly it happened, in terms of the progress in the plot. I figured that I would use the books above to help give my work a bit of an "Under the Tuscan Sun" quality. The protagonist would buy herself a cabin, as a response to learning her family cabin had burned down, and then fix it up. Ultimately, I was at 50,000 words right about the moment she was closing the purchase. So, these books were interesting for me to look over, but not helpful for the book - at least, not yet.

So, where do we go from here? I'm not entirely sure. I'm excited to be done writing, at least for now. I'm feeling good about having some additional free time to read, do crafts, and all the other things I didn't have time to do while writing. I'm reserving making decisions about what happens next for at least the next week. I have other things on my plate for the time being. I expect that, at some point in the future, I will edit the book. I haven't decided if I'll ever let anyone read it and, at this point, I don't plan to publish it. It's not a specific concern about the quality of the work, as much as an overriding belief that it wouldn't be interesting to editors or the general public.

However, this experience has given me some good lessons. I do enjoy writing fiction, even though I don't often read it. I think I will participate in a month-long writing challenge again, I'm just not sure when. I think that if I do it again, I will pick a subject matter with broader appeal. I will also do it less by the seat of my pants and put at least a little bit of forethought into the structure of the characters and their story (as recommended by Chris Baty).

All of that said, I think my experience this month has been an awesome lesson. I put my mind to it, and I wrote a 50,000 word novel. I did this with NO planning, beginning on the second day of the month late in the evening, basically on a lark. I spent at least the first four days thinking I would quit. I still went to work, kept social commitments, and cleaned my house enough to entertain at one point during the month. I decided to take the challenge partly because there were some things in my actual life that had gotten under my skin. I know that having a challenge like this was a good distraction, and writing about something that was related to my own troubles helped me think about them in a different, and more helpful, way. I'm so glad I did it, and I would very highly recommend it!

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