The first time I participated I joined at the last second and flew by the seat of my pants. The second year I spent two weeks writing out a 10K detailed outline. Last year, my third in case you need help with the math, I pantsed it again.
The first year, what I wrote was barely salvageable. There was some really good elements I would love to use later on. It was a story that I had always wanted to write. I learned a lot that year.
That second year, I flew through those words. Most of what I wrote wasn't too bad. I liked it enough that I am heading in to my third draft of it. I still like it, but I know it needs a lot of work....
Last year was a lot like the first in results. There was some good stuff, but I started in one direction and ended in a different direction. Where I ended was what I should have been writing from the beginning.
I also did Camp NaNaWriMo this year, not that I did too well, but it was something that I am very happy that I did.
Those last few years have taught me somethings. I've learned that I work better with an outline, but even with an outline I tend to go off course - a lot. I learned that I work better with deadlines. I learned that it's fun to experiment, but more often than not, my writing leads me to where it wants to go and not where I always want to take it.
When I was younger, long before I gave up on the idea of being a writer, I dreamt of writing science fiction. Even then, as much as I loved reading humour, I knew I couldn't write it. Yet, even then I always focussed on the human drama.
Then I gave up on writing. Not as conscious decision and I never even realized that I had done it. I had become so focussed on trying to find a career and a stable job and to "do the right thing" - whatever that meant.
I came back to writing during a time of change in my life. I picked up where I had left off, maybe even a little bit back of that point. Boy, what a learning curve. I still feel like the quality of my writing is quite lacking.
This all leads me to another year of NaNo.
This year, I've only just decided what to write. I've followed my instincts back to the human drama. All I need for this one is a single character and I am looking forward to it.
I don't know if it'll be good, but it'll be mine. So if you don't hear from me for a bit, this time you'll know why.
I hope that what I've learned in the past helps me this year. My goal is 80K. A nice reasonable goal....
Wish me luck.