Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Crossing the NaNoWriMo finish line!

TaDa! I crossed the finish line on Monday at midnight with 48 hours to spare.

What a month! I started NaNo on a cross country airplane trip. I wrote my first 1,666 words flying high until my laptop battery died. It's been a wild ride ever since.

This was my first writing marathon, so I was pretty innocent as to what I might expect. This was probably a good thing and I dove in head first. What did I have to loose, but a little sleep? I was desperate to get my mojo back after several months of laziness and doubt about whether I could even write a second book.

So what's NaNo really all about? Have I actually written an entire novel? No, but I'm a lot closer to one than I was 30 days ago. What took me a year the first time around was condensed into one month.

 What did I accomplish in 30 NaNo days?
  • I set a goal and actually did it! I finished! (I'm still amazed.)
  • I had fun writing because the goal wasn't a finished story; the goal was to liberate my imagination.
  • I do have the makings of a really fun story, albeit one that needs a boat load of editing.
  • I have my mojo back!
  • My writer's demons (all those self-defeating behaviors) are at bay . . . at least for today.

Things I learned which I was told were helpful and true, but now I know them for myself:
  • Trust the process; don't think too much. Just write. Keep the fingers moving and surpising things do happen!
  • I'm glad I started my journey with a road map and companions, i.e. plot points and a cast of characters.
  • I don't think I could have done it without designating a special NaNoWriMo time to write until I got my word count in for the day. For me, this meant setting the alarm clock to 5 a.m. and starting the coffee pot.
  • To keep the flow going, sometimes I simply had to start talking to myself or my characters. I found peace with this process. Blathering through the barriers, I call it.
  • I forced myself not to spend time Googling 'the seven stages of grief' or 'how to steal a car'.
  • I had to drastically scale back posting blogs, Twitters, and FaceBook updates.
  • I had to spend non-NaNo time re-evaluating my plot and characters. A few characters were dropped off on the side of the road, but further on my Antagonist appeared, lurking in vapors of her shadow world, just waiting to tell me her story.
My first book, Guardian Cats and the Lost Books of Iskandriyah, is finished, and currently getting a professional edit.


  1. Kudos! I "only" got 28,000 words written during November, but like you, my goal wasn't to finish a book, but to "liberate my imagination" and get my mojo on, and both happened. Yes, I talked to my characters (especially while walking on the beach, where I spent the month) and yes they talked back. It's hard to keep moving forward back at home with the holidays upon us, but I'm committed. You?

  2. Yay!! CONGRATULATIONS AND WELL DONE! You are a NANO winner and a you've got your novel entering the editing stage!! Fantastic news!!

    And what great things you've learned for yourself! I'm so glad you have your mojo back!! Take care

  3. Congrats, Rahma. I am sure it must be a great feeling!!!

  4. Susan: Glad to hear you got your mojo back too. I've been following your 'beach month' with a wee bit of jealousy. :-)
    I'm hoping I can maintain my NaNo writing schedule (up at 5 a.m.) and stay committed; I just take it one day at a time.


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