My NaNoWriMo 2015 Adventures: Part 5 of 5
My journey with NaNoWriMo 2015 has finally come to an end and it is time for me to reflect on this adventure.
NaNoWriMo 2015 started on 1 November 2015 world wide where aspiring novelists, writers and, to be honest, anyone with an interest in writing came together and started their journey towards writing 50 000 words in a single month. Yesterday, 30 November 2015 at midnight, was the last chance to update our word count after which the month’s hard work was locked in forever.
I’ve documented my NaNoWriMo 2015 adventure with a weekly update which you are welcome to go check out for Week 1, Week 2, Week 3 and Week 4. All I can say is that Week 4 was by far my best writing week ever where I managed a massive 25 937 words in just seven days. It was a feat like none other and I still don’t know how the hell I managed that. All I know is that I’m completely tapped out, creatively speaking.
All that’s left now is to let you know how the two days in Week 5 went before I get into my experience of it all. As I mentioned in the Week 4 post, we had a final write in on Sunday, 29 November, which I did attend as I still had 4 000 words to write before crossing the finish line. And by god, I was planning on finishing it! I met some new wrimos and some old friends and we spent most of the afternoon together chasing that elusive milestone and adding words to win that damn word war with Humboldt County.
All in all, I had a great Week 5 as well. I managed to reach that 50 000 milestone on Sunday and added a few extra thousand on Monday, just because I could. In the end I wrote a not too bad 52 000 words in the thirty days of November (that is 1733 words per day on average). I’m very proud of myself and most of all for achieving this goal even though I was tired and just plain over it. There were times I just wanted to give up and walk away, but unfortunately (or fortunately) my personality kicked in and I just pushed through. That’s probably thanks to my engineering studies, you learn a hell of a lot of determination.
I suppose you want to know how things went with the word war on Humboldt County and whether we need to sing their national anthem. The answer is a resounding YES! We actually did manage to close the gap, but alas it was not enough and the Humboldt team had the last word. I just want to give a shout out to all the Pretoria wrimos that contributed so magnificently! I think we did great and fought a good fight. I’m not particularly looking forward to singing the US anthem, but I’m a gracious loser and will surrender in defeat.
Highlights and Lowlights
The NaNoWriMo adventure was truly an adventure with a lot of ups and downs. At moments I felt like I was riding a creative roller coaster. There were days when I had a lot of inspiration and it wasn’t difficult to hit my daily word count, or even surpass it, and then there were other days that I just couldn’t get a word down. Those were soul crushing.
I’d say the highlight of this whole adventure for me was the write-ins. I really enjoyed getting to know the other participants and socialising with different people. Apart from socialising I really liked to have an environment where you pushed yourself with word sprints and got the creative juices flowing with various prompts. It was a great experience and I’ll definitely miss it.
It is actually difficult to say what the lowlights were. If I really had to think I’d say it was those days I just couldn’t do it any more. The days when my inspiration and creativity was low and I just felt like giving up. It was really hard to pick myself up from those days and believe me, there were a lot of them. You remember all those zero days…
What NaNoWriMo taught me
NaNoWriMo really opened my eyes to a whole other world. I have a new found respect for authors and I really appreciate their craft a lot more. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post I was considering a possible career as a novelist, however I really found the amount of words extremely overwhelming and I just didn’t have enough creative juice to tap into.
I did enjoy the aspect of creating new stories and as a result I’ve decided to take it further and try my hand at writing short stories. I actually ended up starting a number of different short stories during my adventure and as things stand at the moment none of them are actually finished. So I have some stuff to work with.
Apart from realising that I am no novelist, I’ve also learned quite a lot about myself through this journey. It’s really been an eye opener and I think it is one of the most valuable things I’ll take away from this experience.
Will I do NaNoWriMo again?
In all honesty, I’m not sure. It was a great experience and definitely one I would recommend every aspiring writer to take. However, if you are not writing-fit taking on a challenge to actually complete 50 000 words in a single month could be very daunting. That was what crippled me. Well that, and falling behind. NEVER FALL BEHIND! If I can give you one piece of advice, keep up and write your 1667 words every single day. It beats having to catch up like I did. But I digress.
I’m not sure if I’ll take up this challenge again. I’ll much rather just do it at my own pace in my own time than subject myself to this kind of stress. On the one hand it is a great opportunity to sit your butt down and get that elusive first draft of what ever you have going on in your head. On the other, it can become a burden if you fall behind, if you’re inspiration falters and if you feel like you’re failing.
I’ll see how I feel next year, but for now I’m not committing to anything. I need a proper long holiday to recharge and I definitely need to first fill up my creative jar again before starting any new projects.
As I said, NaNoWriMo really taught me a lot about myself and one thing is for sure I enjoy creating a story. I’ve decided to get into writing short stories and as a result I’m joining the Pretoria Writer’s Circle along with my wife. I’m going to use 2016 to finish some of the short stories I started during this adventure and I’m even considering doing an online short story course through SA Writer’s College.
All I can say is watch this space, great things are coming!