This is the third time that I’ve participated in the event. The first two novels I succeeded to finish are now sitting on my hardrive collecting dust for I haven’t looked at them since – mostly because they are terrible pieces of work that no one should ever have to see, but also because I simply never found the time to go back to them. I’m sure eventually I’ll torture myself by re-opening the files and reading my work, so as to edit them, but for now, I think they’re better sitting where they are. But, with the knowledge that I had already completed this challenge twice, I was fairly certain that I would be able to make it to the finish line once more.
Now, since November has not yet ended, I’m not at liberty to divulge whether or not this is true. But I do know that as I write this, with only six days left of the challenge, I still have 21,000 words to write. It is going to be an incredibly challenging six days, but maybe with some inane willpower and motivation, I will still manage to complete this novel on time.
The answer to that question is complex, for there are many different reasons. Here is a checklist of all the things that have gone wrong since the beginning of November.
- I did not plan. Well, that’s not entirely correct because I did plan, but on the very first day of NaNo I decided that I no longer liked my idea, I no longer felt safe writing this story in only a month and so I quickly swapped it for another. This second story, I had absolutely no plan for.
- I was busy. Just as I was too busy to edit my older novels, trying to write a new one in such a short space of time was actually quite a lunatic thing to do. I started a new job this month, while keeping my old one and socialising and all the rest of it, simply meant very little time to write. That, or I’d come home from my new work and was just too exhausted to open up the word document and start writing.
- I lost all motivation. Without that trusty plan I needed, I had no idea where my story was going, what I needed to write and my characters simply weren’t speaking loud enough for me to fully get the idea formulated in my head.
- Maintaining my blog. Last year, I did have my blog while I participated in NaNoWriMo but I was just starting out, posting maybe twice a week whereas now, I post every single day, so keeping on top of that, including reading for blog tours and the like, simply crunched into my writing time.
- It was easier to ignore it. If I just stopped remembering that I had to write words every day, I could happily crash out in the front room watching television instead of forcing my brain to work and writing a thousand or more words. This, obviously, was not the easiest way to get the novel written though.
But, fortunately, I did still get some words down. On the rare occasions that I sat down with the word document up and ready to write in it, I did manage to add to my word count. Then, just three days ago, I was suddenly struck by the perfect ending to my story and then everything else just fell into place. Scenes that need to happen before the ending were being replayed into my head, moments that needed to occur before were being written and placed in their respective places. And now, I am so full of juice and motivation that I may be horrified by the idea of writing 21k in six days, but I want to finish because I am so excited for my story now.
However, before I finish this post with all the negatives of my NaNo journey, I would like to mention some positives. There has been some great support for me when it came to this and there are a few people that I would like to thank as I know for certain that I would not have continued going if it wasn’t for them.
- My Best Friend. My writing partner. I was all geared up and ready for NaNo but decided I simply didn’t want to go through it alone. Last year I had a great support group but since then I’ve moved towns and so I knew I wouldn’t have them around again, therefore, just a few days before the event was to start, I begged my best friend to join me in this endeavour. Fortunately, being a writer herself, she magnificently accepted! She is just as far behind as me but we are struggling through it together and she has been a brilliant support for me.
- Twitter Friends. Bloggers, and non-bloggers alike, have all witnessed my troubles of my word count on twitter and many have sent wishes my way, while others have requested word wars with me. A lot of us are in this together and knowing there are others tapping away on their keypads at the same time has been a huge help for me.
- Sarah Maas and Susan Dennard. The #NaNoWriMoBattle that these two lovely and magnificent authors started for this challenge has been a grand help. While I haven’t participated every day, for the reasons above, the few times I did join, I wrote like the wind with inspiration lacing off of my fingertips. These two authors are brilliant inspirations and I have a lot to thank them for.
- NaNoWordSprints. Again, the twitter account of NaNoWordSprints has been a major support link for me. With their prompts, ideas have flown into my heads while I pounded at the keys along with many others for their quick sprints, and being glad to see my word count steadily increasing. Lord knows I wouldn’t be anywhere near 30K without them.
- Pep Talks. Every single one that entered my inbox on the NaNoWriMo site has helped me to pick myself up and carry on writing. Everyone has their own things to say, their own pointers to add in, but every message was motivational and caring and simply wonderful. They are a large part of the reason why I am still working my way towards the end, they’re the reason I haven’t yet given up completely.
So, there we have it. NaNoWriMo is a tough challenge, but when you have so many other people participating alongside you, it seems just a little less scary. No one is selfish, wanting only themselves to win. Everyone else is rooting for you too. And when so many other people want you to succeed, how could you possibly let them down? I hope that I do manage to finish my NaNoWriMo novel, simply because the journey to the end has been one hell of an awesome ride.
Faye is twenty-two years old and graduated from university in June with a BA in Film and Television Studies. She lives in Surrey, UK and currently works in her local library. While she has never had a book published, it is something that she wishes to achieve one day. She tries to write something every single day, and believes that practice makes perfect. She currently runs her own blog, A Daydreamer’s Thoughts, which focuses on books and films and her thoughts and opinions on them.
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