And After NaNoWriMo

So a few days out from Nano now. It’s time to sit down and analyze how Nano went for me this year and the lessons I can take away from it.

Starting NaNo

I had little to no anticipation about NaNo itself. I’ve been doing NaNo consistently since 2008 and getting words down has never been a problem of mine. I knew I would be able to produce the needed words. My worry was more that I wouldn’t write anything of substance, or that nothing would work with the story. I went in with my goal of 2k words every day but Fridays.

Ending NaNo
By the end of NaNo I could feel my pace slowing along with the ideas for new scenes to write. I was able to tell I was about a week into needing to revise. It’s something I recognize about my process, the need to go back to the beginning of my story and smooth before I can push forward again. I actually tried for a few days to do this while keeping track of the new words I wrote toward my daily goal. Unfortunately this is more difficult than writing straight up, and by that point I was into the black hole surrounding Thanksgiving. So I shifted back to just getting my 2k words a day through brute force. I finished three days early then stopped writing. I’m pretty sure I was just on the very edges of burnout.

Post NaNo
I gave myself several days off. I was planning a few weeks to work on a different project, but Monday morning, ideas were literally shoving their way out of my head. I had to pull over on the way to work to write one down. I poured out two new scenes (1.2k words) in 42 minutes this afternoon.

When I look back at the numbers on my excel spreadsheet, I noticed I had never spent more than two hours a day getting the needed 2k words. Usually it was closer to 1.5h. 7.5-8.5 hours a week in order to churn out 12k+ words. Not too shabby. And there were good ideas in there as well, even if the prose isn’t all worthwhile. The week of Thanksgiving and the week after were a bit of a wash in terms of total hours spent on writing stuff. I got my Nano words, but I did little else. I’m a bit disappointed in that.

From Here
Part of my path forward will be giving myself more than the one goal. It’s possible my lack of output was simply due to my whole focus being getting Nano done, so I didn’t really put effort into working on anything else.

I also have a few more things I want to play around with: How many words can I write easily in one day, knowing I need breaks in between writing sessions? What do I need to do in order to recharge my ability to write during a single day? (ie, what refills my creative well) I also want to figure out if there is some way to tell how long I can write new prose before I feel the need to smooth, or if it’s just a feel thing.

Goals for the Week
Writing 30 mins/day assuming I have a scene idea I want to write (which so far I have).
Revising and eventually Smoothing the Huntsman for an hour/day.
Keep track of my actual words/hour because numbers!

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