NaNo Reviewed

So I missed last week’s post. I was out of words.

National Novel Writing Month (aka NaNoWriMo) ended a week ago. The goal of NaNo is to make 50,000 words during the month. I ended up a few thousand short, clocking in around 47,000, but something in me broke around November 29. I scraped around my brain and couldn’t find one more sentence. Not even a phrase. I hang my head in shame.

On the bright side, I finished the draft I was working on by Sunday night—a whole lot sooner than if I hadn’t been under the sway of November novel madness!

So what did I learn by all this? Practically speaking, it is possible to draft a novel in about six weeks. It’s true that keeping a routine makes the pages add up faster. Also, if you fall behind, it’s really hard to make up the word count.
On a more esoteric level, I found the exercise interesting from a “you don’t know what you can do until you try” sort of way. It also demonstrates what you really find important, because the extras fall off your personal map pretty quickly. Needless to say, my living space looks like Viking raiders invited the Mongol hordes over for a frat party.

Would I recommend it to others? Yes and no. This is a hard enough task that someone has to really want to succeed.

Would I do it again? Absolutely, if the circumstances were right. I got a lot out of it because I had my piece ready to go. If I’d been waffling around without a clear outline, a lot of time would have been wasted writing nonsense. Also, having the external goal of a January 15 submission deadline lifted the daily word count from “nice to do” to “get with it, girl.”

The Summary – NaNo or Not?

Pros:
– Prose, and lots of it.
– An excuse to avoid awkward social engagements
– You can say you did

Cons:
– Social alienation
– Brain damage
– Health department quarantines your kitchen

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