NaNoWriMo 2016: Post-mortem

Phew.

Well, that was one hell of a ride.

My ninth National Novel Writing Month turned out to be a doozy. My initial rebellious streak was quickly quashed, and I found myself reconsidering whether or not NaNoWriMo was indeed the right forum for me to try something as ambitious as marathon revisions – it certainly wasn’t a good idea this year.

I’ll admit I had an unforeseen hitch. At the end of October, I’d applied to (and been hired for) a part-time job that I thought would be a nice opportunity to get away from my desk. I’m incredibly introverted and home can be lonely sometimes; fifteen hours a week in retail sounded about the perfect amount of distraction, and socialisation, and I was looking forward to earning a regular income again.

I didn’t think it would get in the way of my revisions, but boy was I wrong.
In a series of unexpected events (namely half the staff quitting and the company being unable to hire new people to take their place) my part-time job quickly became full-time, and for the first time in years I found myself working 40 hours a week, spread over irregular hours, and at a job I had barely trained for. I was coming home exhausted. My sleep schedule was erratic – which is, I’ve found over the years, a sure-fire trigger for some of the nastier symptoms of my mood disorder. I felt frustrated and inadequate, and I most certainly didn’t feel like sitting at a keyboard and doing revisions after selling dog food for nine hours. My word count stagnated.

About half way through the month I conceded that maybe trying to work on an existing project was overly optimistic, and so I began on the first draft of a new story, set in a well-established world with a cast of characters that I know inside and out. This fresh-start helped, and my word count jumped, but I was so far behind that catching up still wasn’t going to happen. I might not have gone into November hellbent on meeting 50K, but I had hoped to write more, and more consistently, than what I actually managed.

So what were the good parts of NaNoWriMo for me this year? Here in December I’m content with the nearly 15K that I ended up with – it’s a good springboard for a project that I’m excited to examine more closely in the near future. I also made some writing buddies that I’m very much looking forward to getting to know better. I’ve since quit the retail job, and I’m happy to be getting back into the swing of daily writing again.

All in all, this November wasn’t the month I was hoping for, but it wasn’t a terrible experience, either. I think that might be one of my favourite aspects of NaNoWriMo: what I end up with at the end of thirty days might not be what I expected, but I’m always better, and wiser, for having written it.

How did your November go?

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