Tips for NaNoWriMo

… From a pro. Nah, ahaha, I’m not a professional in anything. Bearing that in mind, take everything with a grain of salt.

See, I’ve had two very different experiences the two times I’ve done NaNo (Nov ’13, April ’15). The first time, I went to 70k words but I did not finish the story, and I eventually gave up on it after November ended. This time around, I did finish the story, but (I think) I only went to 30k words. So I’ll write from both experiences.

Okay, honestly, once I wrote this, the only thing that came to my mind was type like a madman. Honestly, that’s true, that’s the only thing that led me to win several times already. However, since I know most of you have lives unlike me, I’ll try to break it down.

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Camp NaNoWriMo, April 2015

I once said that I disliked NaNoWriMo with a passion (or something like that). Well, the truth is, for the April NaNoWriMo camp, I bit back my words. Mostly because I finished the story I was working on during NaNo to completion, something that did not happen when I was working on NaNo last year. Yes, I did finish it.

Yes, I did finish it. Yes, I meant the April camp, not the March camp. To be honest, it wasn’t as if I reached 50,000 words though, I reach 30,000 more or less (I can’t be accurate because I wrote in a notebook and I haven’t transcribed everything yet), but the point is that I actually finished the story, unlike the November one.

And I’ve got to say I loved doing NaNo.

It wasn’t just actually writing it, there is a whole community who is also doing it with you, and they’re all really serious about polishing up their work. It’s nice to see others writing with you for a whole month, and to encourage each other with their work. For someone who doesn’t have something of a “writer’s circle” except for a few close friends, a community like that is something I greatly cherished.

I’m glad I bit my tongue and just went into it, especially with no outline written out and just writing words on paper. It was fun, honestly speaking, I was reminded why I started writing in the first place.

I highly recommend others doing NaNo (not too late to start, and you can set lenient goals!) and for those who are doing Camp this month, don’t worry, I still have to transcribe and greatly revise my manuscript. I’ll still be here all month (:

P.S. I’ll probably be doing a more in-depth post about what I did this month (that was completely different from what I did last month) and what I’ve written, though that will most definitely come after I’ve transcribed everything.

Why I Didn’t Participate in NaNoWriMo

The first time I participated was November 2013. Yeah, not much to say about that. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t lose or anything that I didn’t join this year out of spite. I did win, hell, I went over the limit a bit. If I’m not mistaken, I got to 60-70k before the end of the month.

How did I get to that? Simple.

You type like a madman.

But this post isn’t really about motivating others or tips on how to succeed (you just got one, that counts). It’s about what happened to me afterwards.

Yes it felt great to cross the finish line days before the due date. I was thrilled, “Look at me guys, I won!” But afterwards, I just stopped, confused, a deer in the headlights.

It’s not about how I didn’t understand how to edit or how to get it published; there are tons of guides written about exactly that. It was more of steam. I ran out of steam.

When NaNoWriMo ended, I was far from even finishing the storyline of the novel. Maybe that’s why, after a gruelling one month, I just stared at the words with really no affection.

You know when you see your writing, you imagine finishing and then all the fame you’re going to get once you publish that book. People are going to look at you in awe and say, “Wow, you’re a published author!” Then you’ll travel to hold book signings and maybe move into a castle like J.K. Rowling.

When I stared at my manuscript, I didn’t feel any of that. There was no love, no thrill, none of that which I felt when I first started. I can’t rekindle that love, I couldn’t force myself to continue writing any longer. So I stopped. 60,000 words gone down the drain.

I’m not saying that NaNoWriMo is bad, good for you if you’re taking on the challenge.

I’m saying that maybe, I’m not cut out to be an author.