November was a unique month for me, so though this is not something I would normally do on the blog, I wanted to take a post to reflect on the month.
What happened in terms of…
Reading: I didn’t read, at all. It wasn’t weird at first, since I used to not read all the time, but probably about halfway through the month it started to feel weird. Especially when I realized how much everyone in the blogsphere had read in those two weeks that I hadn’t.
TV watching: I haven’t watched as much Fringe thanks to live TV shows and basketball season. So my husband and I are still very slowly making our way through the final season of Fringe, which is short, and have also been keeping up with Castle and Agents of SHIELD. And then I watched Almost Human last week and I think I want to start watching it too. Still need to catch up on the first two episodes of that.
Movie watching: I saw three movies in the theater, which is also unusual: Ender’s Game, Thor 2, and Catching Fire. I reviewed them all on here. I was hoping to watch The Book Thief but it just now came into theaters in my area, so I hope I can catch it before it leaves (especially since next weekend for me is SLAMMED).
Writing: Well, I exceeded my NaNoWriMo goal of 50,000 words! Yay! *Confetti!* I might have technically written some of those words in late October, but they were edited and typed/pasted into a new word document starting November 1. And come on, writing even close to that many words in one month was a super major accomplishment for me. Writing a story from beginning to end (well, mostly, I did skip around just a little) was also quite a feat for me. Is most of it crap? You bet. But I’ll worry about that later. The point is, the words are written down at all, and that’s better than where they were a month ago.
Blogging: It was hard to keep up with blogging as well this month because of my focus on writing, but I did better than I thought I would. I loved doing Sci-Fi Month and am so glad I participated, even if some of my posts didn’t turn out as grandiose as I had originally planned because I didn’t write them far enough ahead of time. I wish I could have read more posts from the event from bloggers I don’t normally follow. As it is, I’m still trying to catch up on posts from bloggers I do follow posted a few days ago…
My personal life: I got some news that was hard to receive. It’s not about an illness or anything like that, it’s just a change in my life that is going to be hard for me to get used to, but I am extremely thankful for God and for people in my life (particularly my husband) who will help me through the change.
My thoughts on the NaNoWriMo experience…
Would I do it again? Maybe, if it felt right. It is stressful, and it is hard. For some reason, I wanted to give up on the SECOND TO LAST DAY OF THE MONTH. You would think it’s so close at that point, and that I could see the light at the end of the tunnel, but for some reason, I was about to crack. Thankfully, my husband encouraged me to push on when I didn’t want to! In addition to his encouragement, I also feel I was able to meet this goal thanks to some holiday time off, my strong intrinsic motivation to meet goals, and all the sweet Internet people who encouraged me along the way! THANK YOU!
It was a good exercise for me to do this year. I needed it as a kick in the pants. I am very glad I did it this time.
What did I learn? Just write something. Don’t worry about perfection. Things can be cleaned up later. It can’t be cleaned up if there’s nothing there at all. And I learned that I am capable of pushing through Act 2, where my story always struggles and I always give up. And of course, it’s way easier said than done! I kept reading and hearing, Push through it. It’s OK to write crap, just write. But sometimes it’s hard to just write when you have no idea what your character wants or needs or what should happen next or you don’t know what day of the week it is (either in the fiction world or the real world) and your brain’s gone to mush. I’m going to let my story sit and cool for the month of December, focus back on reading and get through the holidays, and then in January I’ll come back to it and see if I think it can be redeemed. I think I had some good ideas but I ended up with more cheese and less dynamic scenes than all the feels I was hoping for. I feel like I have written a lot better, more dynamic scenes before, but I suppose when you’re just trying to grind out content it’s hard to get as good emotional writing as I expect myself to write. Hopefully when I go back, I’ll find I can totally refresh these scenes and make them much, much better.
Will this novel become more than a NaNoWriMo project? I hope so. When I started, I really wanted this to the book that I would use to query agents, possibly as soon as next year (probably later in the year though). But as I mentioned in the previous paragraph, it’s pretty craptastic right now, so we’ll have to see. I did lose a lot of interest in the story too, but I’m going to attribute that again to the force-able churning out of content I was doing for it. I hope I love it again next year when I read over it with new eyes. And I do think I have good characters.
And it feels good to be a NaNo winner!
Honestly, for anyone who tried NaNoWriMo this year, even if you didn’t hit the 50,000 word goal, if you kept chugging at it you’re still a winner because you wrote your heart out and attempted something most people never will: novel writing! So congratulations to us all!
Well done on NaNoWriMo! 🙂
We did it Amy!
I completed NaNoWriMo (I still hate typing those caps in that word) about 1 hour before I had to leave for my night job on the last day. Also I had great support from my wife but in a different way.
I never had the urge to quit as I really wanted to make this happen. It did mean me away from her for blocks of the time that we usually spend together. Her support was in letting me write rather than pushing me. She wanted me around and let me be in my own little world.
When I finished she was proud of me and happy, but honestly would be happy if I never do it again I think. It’s good to be missed. 🙂
I actually have a novel I’m going back to now and this was a one off. I like how it turned out and will be revising this rough (very rough) first draft to get it presentable. Glad I did it. 2 days before November I decided I would do so, and your post about attempting it is part of the reason why. Thanks.
Thankfully I didn’t have to sacrifice too much time away from my together time with my husband since I did as much writing as I could during my lunch hour at work, but there was some sacrificed time and I do appreciate him letting me do that! We’re both introverted only children so thankfully we’re both pretty understanding when the other needs alone time anyway, and it’s definitely something needed during NaNo!
Today I have surprisingly already been itching to start writing again… on one of my old story ideas though, not on my November story! I was so sure when I wrote this post last night that I was burned out on writing for a while, but I guess that’s not the case, and I’m glad for it! So glad I helped you decide to do NaNo this year! It’s easier just knowing you have other friends doing it too!
Congratulations on reaching 50,000 words! I wasn’t able to reach the goal, but I’m still very happy with what I got done, even if it is only about half as much as what I wanted 🙂 I can always just write the story outside of November, right? Every month is the time for writing! And I really do hope that you are able to make your story more than a NaNoWriMo project _< Oh well.
That’s totally fine, because you started writing and like you said, you can definitely continue to work on it! Every month is definitely a time for writing! So yay Lesley Marie! 😀
If you got a project started that you wanted to start and are on a path then NaNo was a success. Keep going and good job.
Congrats on “winning” NaNoWriMo, Amy! That’s so awesome! And honestly, I don’t know how you could keep up with anything else, when you have that kind of goal/deadline for the month. It must have been weird not reading any books, but I’m glad you were able to focus on writing instead of getting distracted with reading (which is totally what would have happened to me).
Thanks, Kelley! I honestly don’t know how I was able to do it either. I think it helped that I could usually write close to 1000 words at lunch, and about 1600 words was the average per day for 50,000 words per month. Still… Phew!
Congratulations, Amy! That is an amazing feat and you should definitely feel proud. I’ve always wanted to be a writer in the way that little kids want to be astronauts. It sounds awesome, but I don’t know if I actually have the drive or dedication. I’m hoping now that I’m almost done with school that I’ll have some time to concentrate. I always lose interest in the second act as well and always give up on whatever it is I’m writing. I hope you do find that you have something to work with when you come back to it (and I’m sure you will). I can’t wait to read whatever you write once it is finished.
I hope everything is ok regarding whatever you were alluding to in your personal life and am happy you have a good husband to lean on.
Anyway, congrats, again!!
Thanks so much, Natalie! I understand your feelings about the whole writing thing. If you ever decide to really pursue it, a couple of books I’d recommend are Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott for inspiring advice, and Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell for practical advice. And of course you ever get serious about writing, I’d love to see what you would come up with!
And thanks for your concern about the personal life issue. I’m always anxious about change and I hope I can learn and grow from this instead of allowing it to overtake my fears.
Congrats on winning! I’m in awe of you and all the people who set out your goal and just made it happen. Well done!! And I think it’s a good idea to leave it now for a little bit before you start editing it.
I hope the change you have to get used to gets easier and maybe even turns out to be a good one in the end. I am coping with something similar in that I also have a change in my life to come to terms with and it’s a daily struggle to do just that. But time is a great healer and I have faith that I can get through this.
Thanks, Trish! And I’ll be thinking of you as well as you’re going through your life change.
Great job on winning NaNoWriMo! I pretty much gave up a week in. just not my year it seems. Too tired with the pregnancy. I did alright and still like the idea I was working on, so I might revisit it in the future 🙂
Sounds like a pretty successful month for you though!
Thanks! And hey, I think pregnancy is a totally understandable reason to maybe not get as far as you hoped. Hopefully you will end up revisiting your idea!