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My 2021 NaNoWriMo Journey

Updated: Nov 25, 2021

If you're not familiar with National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), it's a yearly event that happens online throughout the writing community where you strive to write a book in a month. Well, not a full book (depending on your genre)... 50,000 words to be exact. So this would at least get you a great start in a rough draft.

Last November, I started draft # 1 for what is now my current work in progress, Thorns of Darkness. I worked my BUTT off and I won NaNo (when you reach/surpass the 50k). I was so thrilled with myself (and I'm still super proud); I hadn't thought I could do it. But I did! I took a much-needed mental break in December and then sat down to start editing in January 2021.

That didn't go quite as planned...

I ended up rewriting the entire draft! Yep, the ENTIRE draft. And of course I wasn't pushing myself nearly as hard as I did for NaNo, so it took me until August 2nd 2021 to finish my manuscript. But it was done! All 77,842 words.

I tinkered with edits here and there up until October 2021, when Preptober became my focus. Preptober is a term coined for the preparation of NaNoWriMo in October. You can outline, make notes, set up a writing/sprinting schedule. There are tons of things to consider. I did all of the above with the help of Sarra Cannon's Preptober workbook (click here to read her post about it and get a free copy!).

I had every intention of hitting the 50k in November by re-writing, editing, adding new words (all the things) to my manuscript. But once I sat down and completed the first few chapters, I realized how difficult it was to get new words. Days went by and I would hit 88 words, 266 words, 178 words... my best day was 845 words. It didn't take me long to realize that 50k was NOT going to happen. I chalk this up mostly to my inexperience with editing.

I was upset about it at first. I'm very competitive with myself and winning NaNo is a huge accomplishment. Eventually, with my husband's astute guidance, I stepped back and ended my NaNo 2021 journey. I'm totally fine with this decision now; frankly, I'm glad I made it. I have so many other things going on that I might have crumbled mentally had I not.

With one week left in November, I'm sending all my positive vibes your way so that you accomplish what you set out to do this month, whether that be NaNoWriMo or other. Just picture me on the sidelines, cheering you on with my proverbial pom poms (made of shredded drafts that just didn't make the cut).

You got this!

Until next time -

Renee :)

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