National Novel Writing Month was a huge personal success for me, and a big confidence booster. I will miss my silicone NaNoWriMo bracelet tomorrow.
By the numbers, 50,028 words, finished in the wee hours of November 27. On the twenty-three days I wrote, I averaged 2,175 words a day, due mainly to a big push in the first two weeks that had me writing close to 2,500 a day.
As a project, I reached the end of the draft narrative. I kept control of the pacing so I landed it roughly as I intended. It was an active effort, matching my word count to the outlines, planning scenes ahead in 500-word increments, fleshing out passages still short of their part of the total.
However measured, when I could write, I did, at speed and with some level of consistent craft throughout. I’m not sure I believed I could do it. I am glad to no longer have to rely on belief.
I don’t think I have universal advice, but for me it started well before November 1.
Logistically, I had to think through the time available to me and coordinate it with my family, which led to my front-loaded schedule.
Creatively, I’m very glad I roughed out the story start-to-end in successive passes, and that I had time to bring two rounds of outline to my writing group for further suggestions.
I like sketchy outlines, enough to provide a few lines of forethought, but with room to allow inspiration in the midst of checklist-checking. So long as you know roughly where you’re going, it’s good to take some detours, or to linger for longer than you planned.