The end of November is always hard to get through. There’s Thanksgiving, and some time off work, and all I really want to do is curl up on the couch with my cats and my husband, and not have to use my brain too much. I did get some words in towards the beginning of beginning/beginning-middle of this week, but then I hit 25k words and… stopped. My novel wasn’t done, but that was good enough, wasn’t it? I’d hit that goal, so I could stop now, right?
Obviously I needed to redirect my brain for a little bit. I read a whole book (all in one day, that was a good book), I helped my husband clean our apartment (although let’s be real, he did most of the work because he’s amazing like that), and played Guild Wars 2 because I love my game and I don’t get to play it as often as I’d like (which, if left to my own devices, would probably be all the time).
I gave myself permission to think about things that weren’t my novel and it was fantastic and much needed. Still… my novel was also the thing I fell asleep every night thinking about.
When my long weekend had passed, I went back to it. But… I found it hard to get back into it as much as I wanted to. Part of that was probably the breaks I had taken—after all, I’d had momentum on my side before I took those breaks. But another part of it was that I was encountering large holes in the story that I hadn’t considered and didn’t know how to bridge while I was in the middle of writing.
And that’s the problem I encountered with doing a more general plan and letting the details fall into place as I went. Those details turned out to be larger than I thought. My word counts on the last two days could have been much higher—but I realized I hadn’t done enough work on some of the relevant history of my world. When I had laid out my general plan, I hadn’t known that the history was going to be as large a part of the story as it turned out to be. When I think about it, that’s also one of the problems with the only other novel I’ve finished: the main storyline is pretty strong, but the backstory and the history and the things that have led the characters to where they are is much weaker, because I hadn’t planned for it until I was in the thick of writing. I knew where my novel needed to end, and most of the large plot points I needed to hit between beginning and end, but the middle turned out to be more involved than I had accounted for.
However, at 27,357 words, this is the farthest I’ve ever gotten during a NaNoWriMo. I’m really, really proud of that. It’s also more than I’ve written probably since I finished that other novel in 2013, so that’s something to be proud of too. Even better, I have a solid base to work with as I continue with this story.
In December, I’m going to take a step back. I’ve been down in the trees this last month, but now I need to see the forest. I need to know where the holes are before I can start figuring out how to fill them. I’ll go back to the planning phase now that I know the shape of this story a little, and fill things in. I hope that in the new year, having done a little more planning, I can jump back into this story and write it to its completion.
Overall, this was a really great NaNoWriMo for me. I went to write-ins—I even hosted a weekly one at the coffee shop in my apartment building. And I made some friends, friends who are interested in continuing to meet and write and talk about our writing. And, of course, I wrote a bunch of words. Now, I’m armed with a plan to move forward, and I hope that in the coming year I can write a whole bunch more words.
How was your NaNoWriMo 2017? And what’s your plan of attack for 2018?
This Week’s Word Counts
Day 22: 0 (20,295)
Day 23: 0 (20,295)
Day 24: 2,098 (22,393)
Day 25: 1,552 (23,945)
Day 26: 1,147 (25,092)
Day 27: 0 (25,092)
Day 28: 0 (25,092)
Day 29: 859 (25,951)
Day 30: 1,406 (27,357)