I didn't finish my novel, but it was a conscious decision. I ended up with 29,000 words by mid- November. I was a little behind in my daily word goals but was generally following my schedule until a small wake up call made me realize I was neglecting another project that meant a lot more to me at the time. The call of my other project became much greater, and I realized I really wanted to focus on that instead. So my NaNoWriMo book is on hold. Still, I'm grateful for the experience and am not opposed to trying NaNoWriMo again.
Here are the pros and cons that ultimately resulted in my decision to postpone my NaNoWriMo book.
1. Writing fast and furiously, it turns out, generates some crazy, creative ideas. Don't wait to write because you're waiting for inspiration. In my experience, that doesn't work. Writing is what generates the inspiration.
2. Writing for concentrated periods of time gave me good writing practice. I think, I hope, I am becoming more mindful of how I write and how I can be more concise the first time around. I'm sure the stuff I wrote in those two and a half weeks will still need plenty of editing, but I think concentrated writing time accelerates my rate of improvement.
3. This writing challenges works well for my writing style anyway. Do I outline? Sometimes. Do I plan ahead. Again, sometimes. Having that skeletal structure in place helps, but I come up with a lot as a write, things like side plots, clues, character quirks, et.
4. Having a word goal kept me writing longer throughout the day, which kept me creating and plotting when I might have otherwise called it a day. I think this is a good thing because there were times I wasn't sure what to write next, but simply by staying engaged with the story, I progressed and often would find my flow again.
1. I really didn't have much time to work on other projects that were also very important to me. Ultimately, I decided that another project simply had priority. Next time I do NaNoWriMo, it will probably be when I am somewhat free, meaning it won't stress me out to put other things on hold for a month to make room for NaNoWriMo.
2. Going along with my first point, NaNoWriMo really didn't make sense for me considering my circumstances with family, work, writing, and other obligations. I didn't realize this jumping into it. I thought it sounded like a fun challenge, but with all the activities that compete for my time, NaNoWriMo just wasn't a good fit this year.
NaNoWriMo is a great way to jump start a writing project, especially if you have been intimidated to write or have been putting it off. I think it's fun and motivating to see your word count build from zero to something pretty impressive in such a short amount of time.
I am planning on revisiting my NaNoWriMo goals and finishing the book I started. I especially think my kids will like it. No matter what, this is 29,000 more words that I have under my belt!