Thursday, December 2, 2010

NaNoWriMo: Lessons learned.

Oh NaNoWriMo! You are over now. It was a busy and exhausting month, and here I am- left with an unfinished and highly unpolished manuscript, and a filthy house. Negatives aside, I am grateful for the experience. Here is why:

I wrote an entire first draft in one month.
My first drafts usually take me six months. They are large (between 90-120K)and generally require extensive editing. By that I mean cutting and shaping. My outtakes file for my other three stories is as large as an average manuscript. LET IT POUR stands at 60K right now and could use some filling and detail, but the story is all there. The hard part is done and it took me 25 days.

Planning is my friend.
I go into a new work with an idea and let it flow. This is how I've always written. This one was different. I dove into writing with an idea for each chapter. While it wasn't extremely detailed, it did give me focus. I knew as I wrote what I needed to resolve, what I needed to explore, or foreshadow. This kept me in line and kept me from straying from topic. The result is a very specific story.

I have proven to myself that I can complete a challenge.
I never thought for a moment that I wouldn't 'win' NaNo. I don't ever enter anything that I don't believe I will win. This is why I don't do College Basketball brackets (anymore) and have no desire to go to Vegas. This is why I fold if I know I don't have a chance in poker, conversely why you should fold if I say "I'm in." I knew I would accomplish the 50K goal. But I was concerned that I would hit my 2K daily stretch goal. I set the goal to see if I could achieve more than what was expected of me. And I did. This is an amazing confidence-builder for me. I have learned that a challenge isn't an obstacle for me, and that dedication and hard work will bring results. (Remind me that I said this when I start querying again, btw.)

I have added to my Skipping Seven stories (or what Tim Lotesto called the Aqua Trilogy).
I didn't think I would. I thought this novel would be a rebound for me- a chance to work on a project outside that realm and break away from it. Instead I found that there were more characters for me explore. I'm happy about this. I love that there's a community and relationships that I've created, and I can continue them. I've always hated finishing a book and walking away from characters I love. Now I don't have to. (Side note: I wrote a scene two nights ago with all four MCs at a party together. While it split my brain to have to get into all their heads to write their conversation, it was an amazing experience.)

I have a new musical love.
Jessica (@coffeelvnmom), if I stop listening to Florence & The Machine any time soon, it will be a miracle. But I'm sure my family and friends will appreciate the break from my Jeremy Enigk obsession.

I know that a Mom Strike will never work for my benefit.
I told everyone that I was taking November off to write. Okay, not really off, because I still cooked and worked and did laundry, but I wasn't going out of my way to ensure that the house was beautiful or making any fantastic dinners/desserts. I kind of thought that the folks at home would pick up the slack a little. Didn't happen. Never before have so many chicken nuggets and bowls of cereal been eaten in my house. Dust an inch thick laced all counters. The pile of laundry grew to epic heights. Seriously. My kids had to pack a water bottle and a snack just to get in there and find a pair of clean pants for school. And I won't even discuss the state of the bathroom. You just don't want to know. The positive take-away from this is that I know my kids don't mind filth, and I learned this when I couldn't care less myself. I have saved myself the stress of having to learn this when trying to teach them a lesson about over-working and under-appreciating their mother.

Listening to: Guess.

xo. kb.

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