Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Talks and Tips for NaNo Success - Participation

Once a week, I will be posting tips and pep talks for NaNoWriMo success.Since that will be my main focus for the next month and a bit. These articles were originally written for me to share with the other writers in my region, but I figured that it couldn't hurt to share them with all of you. 
I thought I’d also give you a little background about my history with NaNoWriMo
This is my 10th NaNoWriMo. Over the years I’ve managed to complete anywhere from just barely over 50K to well over 100K words during the month of November. There are years where I have planned novels in intricate detail and years where I have received my writing prompts on October 31 at noon. I’ve run the gamut of NaNoWriMo experiences which is why I want to share those experiences with you. 

First post is below. 

Participation is Success 
I didn’t find the forums until my second year into NaNoWriMo.
I signed up for the first time on October 28. Somehow, I managed to make my 50K. That first year, the closest thing I got to interaction with other participating writers was the two friends from an online discussion group who had encouraged me to “give it a shot”. I was stubborn. I had never really tried to write a novel before, but it was a dream that I had had for a long time. So I pushed through to just over 52K.
I was overjoyed that I had written so much and disappointed when I realized that I had no idea what I was doing when it came to writing a novel. I never finished the story which was my whole goal for even trying this crazy thing in the first place.
So why did I come back?
Well, I got that email that told me that there was more to NaNoWriMo than just writing. Great, I thought, maybe someone can help me figure out where I went wrong last year. So, I homed myself to the Alberta::Elsewhere region and was introduced to a new side of NaNoWriMo.
I enjoyed it even more this time. I didn’t finish the novel again, but I had really just winged the entire thing. That year, I got just over 56K words.
The next year, I was more involved on the forums, I attended my first write-in and did word wars online. I wrote about 120K words that year. And I have never looked back. Other than the year I ran out of story before hitting 50K, that first year was the least amount of words I have ever written for NaNoWriMo.
I am not a fast typer. Ask anyone who has ever attended a write-in with me. My numbers per word war or sprint tend to be on the lower end of the spectrum.
For many people, that interaction helps them to be accountable for their words. Not just to the friends and family that they have told about NaNoWriMo, but to others who are going through the same struggle that they are. People that you can be competitive with, if that’s your thing, people who can help you puzzle out difficult parts of your story when you get stuck, people who can inspire, cheer and celebrate the victories with you.
Now, as an ML with a more than full-time job, it is the interaction with others that keeps the words coming. If it wasn’t for word wars and write-ins there would have been many years that I would have failed completely. I would estimate that about 75% or more of the words I write (typically 65K+ most years) happens at an online or in-person write-in.
Over the years, I have made some of the most incredible friends from around the globe that encourage me to continue to challenge myself and grow in my writing.
And maybe, if you’re reading this, you have discovered or are discovering the same thing. Involvement and participation, not just the writing, are one of the biggest keys to success! Besides, NaNoWriMo has never been about winning or losing - it’s about enjoying the creative process.

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