NaNo Year One was a challenge and its difficulties more apparent only because the task was new. Year One, nor any year following has rivaled in hardships and pressures when compared to NaNo 2016, my fourth year participating in the NaNoWriMo 30Days, 50K Writing Challenge, and no year has taught me more.
By Year Three, I had gained enough experience to put everything I had learned from my previous NaNo years together. Whether it was Year One showing me that I was allowed to undertake such a challenge and help fuel my passion for writing, something that had been somewhat dampened during my high school years or year two teaching me time management and how writing for a living wasn’t only a far off fantasy version of myself I daydreamed about constantly.
I’m still amazed that no matter how I prepare or what I have come to expect out of the writing challenge, every year proves to illuminate new questions and challenges that I am unprepared for. NaNo 2016 made me slow down, stop, and look at that image of myself as a writer who always seems so put together and settled in the future I’m always reaching for, but never able to touch. In the end, it’s not about finding a new idea or starting a fresh story or finishing another under-quality project at the 50K stepping stone that should, if anything, be one of many to a complete first draft. I learned it’s about being the kind of writer you envision yourself to be, the one you can be proud of.
Your Novel. Your Universe.
Writers, scribblers of all kinds, trust me when I tell you it is never good to force yourself into an idea. I felt like I needed something new to work on this year because that’s just the rules of NaNo. At first, I took a barely there concept on a subject that I’ve been eager to write for a long time, but because I was forcing a plot onto this idea, the whole project turned into something I never wanted it to be. I struggled and struggled to plan the plot and in the end, I shelved the whole thing.
Feeling bitter as I have been about the whole sham that was the first story I was trying to outline for NaNo 2016, I knew I couldn’t play by NaNo’s rules anymore. In the beginning, my first year of NaNO, I need the rules. I loved the challenge and everything it stood for and in many ways, NaNoWriMo helped me become a stronger writer and not just a procrastinating, aspiring author. but as I struggled to be a participator this year, I knew I had to start looking at the bigger picture and put into action what I learned during Nano in the rest of the calendar year.
To reach the end goal it’s about writing every day, whether to you that means 1K words, one chapter, or one paragraph. I want to start truly putting in some writing time and not just make my word count, but put down quality content that’s going to matter later on rather than place-holder, story fodder for a word count deadline. Finishing a first draft that has enough potential to be edited, reworked, and worthy of sending to a company for possible publication has always been the goal and is now not just a shiny hope, but a real, gritty, workable priority. I’m ready fo the hard work, the perseverance, the time, and eve though I’m highly lacking in this area, I’m ready to put in the patience writing requires.
FIND SOMETHING YOU’RE PASSIONTE ABOUT AND KEEP TREMENDOUSLY INTERESTED IN IT. ~Julia Child
To help me accomplish even half of this, I have dropped many habits that have become something so very much a part of me recently. I already miss them and one day when I’m able to dedicate more time to them I have promised myself to pick them back up. They have since become their own shiny image I see for my future self, but I can’t allow myself to be distracted anymore. I’m young, but I have already begun to feel the weight of time and my mortality.
From now on everything should be about writing and reading. NaNoWriMo 2017 may or may not fall during a time that I will be working on an ongoing project. If so, then I won’t start a new one. I will plan to continue editing whichever project might be in the works then as the 2017 challenge and if not, I might pick a story that has been demanding my attention.
I’m trying to set realistic goals. It may take me some time to figure out what exactly are realistic goals for my writing. Once I have them, the goals, I’m going to work on them with all I have. I’m writing every day, following my dreams, reading when the writing day has turned into something most sour and will hopefully be published before I turn 25 and to desperate try to reach that time of my life before I turn 30 if for some reason I miss the 25 mark. Nothing is certain, but everything can be reached for and that’s what I’m going to do.
How did your NaNo 2016 go? Did you learn anything specific this year? Let me know in the comments below. ( I always like saying that because it rhymes. :D)