Lame word play, I know.
I did NaNoWriMo 2017. I ended up with 48 761 words in 30 days. That’s an average 1625 words per days! Even if I was 1200 words short, my novel is now 65 000 words long. I guesstimate that I will be able to finish the first tome with an additional 20 000. That’s nothing! NaNoWriMo put that in perspective, that’s for sure. If I’m not lazy, I’ll be able to put in the work in December.
Here are things I learned about my process of writing:
I have to reward myself to keep my motivation. I’ve made a little calendar and a stickers system. A blue sticker for 20 minutes of writing, a green sticker for 500 words, a yellow sticker for 1667 and more. My partner would give me the stickers at night. We got both super excited and looked forward for this moment of the day!
I broke my no-Netflix rule, but for a great reason! I decided that whenever I did all my words (when I had my 3 stickers, hihihi) I could watch TV. I really was grateful for this bent of the rule, because it helps me disconnected when my head was too full of my story. It helped me take a breath and even gave me new ideas! It definitely helped me to pace myself throughout the month. It kept me balanced.
I printed every chapter and binded it into a book. It was incredibly satisfying to see my book grow with every passing week. When I showed it to people, they would be impressed with me, but not half as much as how impressed I was with myself!
I used the Pomodoro Technique to help me focus. For those of you who haven’t heard of it, it is a productivity method developed by Francisco Cirillo in the 80’s when he needed to focus on writing his University thesis. It is quite simple, you give yourself 25 minutes to work exclusively your project, at the end of which you have a 5 minutes break to do literally anything. Then you repeat the cycle 3 times to get a longer break of 15 minutes. I would usually have all of my words done with 4 pomodoros. I noticed that I could be totally focused for 15 minutes; every time I would look up the timer, there would be 10 minutes left. Knowing the remaining time helped me push my attention span limit. It certainly helped me be more disciplined in my approach to writing, and even working!
I used online journal Penzu to write my novel. It’s accessible everywhere and it’s very user friendly. It also allowed me access to my dream and moon journals, from which I drew many lessons that I incorporated in my story. I made one post per chapter and one post for each chapter plan, where I’d dump all of my ideas. It helped me to keep everything in order. Also it saves EVERY FEW SECONDS. I didn’t have to worry about that.
PLANING during writing really, really save my ass. In kept me going in creating situation, developing my world’s logistic and so forth. It also created an overview of each chapters. I now have an outline of what actually happened in the book, instead of what I had originally planed. I was inspired by the Snowflake Method from Randy Ingermanson. I wrote a sentence to say what the chapter was about. I wrote the where the character were at the begging and where they had to go by the end of the chapter… then I would add how they would get there in bullet points. In between each important point, I’d write the consequences/results of every action… it was so easy to write because I was CLEAR on the story. I’m a total Planer.
I need to have people to bounce off ideas and to talk through my blocks or difficulties situation in the story. I had 7 friends who took the plunge with me. We made a Messenger group and keep up with each other’s writing process, everyday! It was amazing, it motivated me to see that they would times from their busy lives to write stories they cherished. It’s in large part what got me going when I was in a slumb.
My partner really gave me a lot of support. I am so grateful that he was 100% on board and proud of me for writing. During November, I seldom did my housework or cooked meals, he didn’t make me feel bad for doing so. On the contrary, he’d help me and made my daily life easier! His participation was key in the sticker system and the TV regulation efforts. (Thank my Love of Love xxx)
Finally, I enjoyed sharing with the people from the Montreal NaNoWriMo on Facebook. It was great to speak to NaNo veterans or even n00bs like me. It was refreshing to see so many people bringing their story to life!
So in the end, I’m extremely grateful that I had such great resources at my finger tips. It was an amazing experience – maddening at times – but I will absolutely do it again. I’m looking forward to finishing my novel. I had a few set back after NaNo finished, mainly a bad case of the flu in the last week of November. And now that I am looking back on what I have written so far, I started to freak out about the plot holes. But I took the decision to let my future self worry about that. I’ll keep you posted on the EDITION process. ha ha ha… ha ha ha … ha… haaaaaaa.
I can already tell you that it is going to be an emotional roller coaster. I am strangely looking forward to it!