So nanowrimo is nearly over. I only have 25,000 words left to write and 2 days to write them in. Hmmm….. I think I can conclude this is a fail. But is it?
Last year I managed to complete the challenge to write 50,000 words in a month without too many problems. In fact, I overshot and did 75,000 and finished about 5 days before the end. I was working full time and going out with my friends as usual. So how come it worked last year and not this year?
I’ve decided that there are times when nanowrimo is a good idea and times when it isn’t such a good idea. One thing to consider is the editing required afterwards. For every hour I spend writing I probably spend 5/6 hours editing later on. Some chapters don’t require much editing, some require loads of editing; 5/6 hours is an average. When I write some of what I write is rubbish and some is alright. Usually I work to about a 40:60 ratio, so 40% of what I write needs extensive editing. This nanowrimo I think I was working at about 90:10 so 90% was going to require loads of editing. The maths just didn’t make sense. By keeping writing I was just creating loads more work for myself later on!
Part of the reason for this is that writing is only a small part of what’s involved in creating a book. Writing itself tends to come in the middle of the process, book-ended by research on one side and editing on the other. My book last year didn’t need much research, as it was about people my age, living in London. All I needed to do was hang around with my friends. This time round my book needed loads of research and I hadn’t had time to do it before nanowrimo. Starting without the research behind me was a big mistake. I found I was writing scenes without having any idea how realistic they were. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this wasn’t that enjoyable.
So here’s my top 5 tips for making nano a success next year:
1. Either do your research and planning before you start or else write what you know
2. There’s no time for self-doubt; keep going regardless
3. Allow time to restructure and edit afterwards. Writing is only a small part of the work
4. Don’t procrastinate. Just write.
5. For me it’s important to get out and keep living your life, otherwise the ideas just aren’t there
Next year, I’m going to plan better and try to relive the buzz of my first nanowrimo. I know that when nanowrimo goes well, it can be awe-inspiring. Next year, I’ll know how to make sure that it fulfils it’s potential. I’ll research, plan and be prepared. Or else I’ll be lazy and just write what I know!
How was nanowrimo for everyone else?