Wednesday, November 30, 2016

NaNo Recap And A Christmas Party Invite


Jill Williamson is a chocolate loving, daydreaming, creator of kingdoms. She writes weird books in lots of weird genres like fantasy (Blood of Kings and Kinsman Chronicles), science fiction (Replication), and dystopian (The Safe Lands trilogy). Find Jill on FacebookTwitterPinterest, or on her author website. You can also try two of her fantasy novels for free here and here.

Today is the last day of NaNoWriMo, so if you're close to reaching 50K, keep at it! You're almost there. You are such hard workers and we believe in you!

I did technically "win" NaNo, even though my book is not yet complete. I logged in 76,901 words so far and I'm still going to write some today when I get home from my side job. (Yes, I have a side job watching a darling three-year-old boy.) But since I came into NaNo with a bit of a head start on this book, and since it is likely going to be closer to 200K when I finish, I still have a little bit further to go.

*crackes knuckles and moves smoothly into December Novel Writing Month to keep the words flowing fast* Whoo!

For those writers who reach at least 50K, NaNoWriMo will send you this nifty badge to display wherever you like. Here is mine:




If you didn't reach 50K, that's okay. Life happens. And we are proud of you for giving this a try. I don't know about you, but in the words of Robert H. Schuller, “I'd rather attempt to do something great and fail than to attempt to do nothing and succeed.” But remember, NaNo is not really about "winning" anything. The whole point is to get you writing and to teach you that it's okay to write messy, ugly, show-no-one rough drafts. Giving yourself permission to stink as you write your rough drafts can be one of the most freeing lessons you can learn as a writer. NaNo taught me that, and I hope participating in NaNo taught you something about your own writing.

What to do now that NaNo is over?

If you haven't finished your book, I say keep on going! But if you did complete your NaNo draft, here are some ideas of what you can do next:

-Take a break. After an intense time of writing, it's nice to rest your brain. When I'm not writing, I like to read. I have so little free time these days, that reading whatever I want is a rare treat. Whatever it is that will rest your brain, decide how long you're going to rest, then rest. You need it.

-Edit. If you finished your book, you might want to dive right in and start editing. If that is you and you need some help, check out these two posts: The Macro Edit and The Micro Edit.

-Join a writing group—if you're not already in one. Besides actually writing, there is no better method to improve beyond getting feedback from others. Being a part of a close-knit group of writers is a great way to grow and give back. Check out these posts for ideas about writing groups:
Suggestions For Writing Groups, Part One
Suggestions For Writing Groups, Part Two
11 Things To Do In Your Writing Group

-Continue to set writing goals. Whether they be word-count goals, chapter goals, or word sprints with friends, goals help you get your writing done in a timely manner.

-Celebrate. No matter how many words you logged during the month of November, your worked hard and should celebrate that. Maybe that looks like buying yourself a treat at Dutch Brothers, a banana split, or a box of chocolates. Or maybe that means buying yourself that book you've been dying to read or going to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Whatever it is, enjoy, and pat yourself on the back for a job well done. One way you can celebrate is by coming to my Christmas Facebook party this Friday! Enjoy some random silliness and a chance to win a Kindle, a book, or a gift card. It's going to be a time of joyous merriment.

Here is an official invitation:



So... share in the comments:
1. What did you learn from NaNo this year?
2. What do you plan to do now that NaNo is over?

26 comments:

  1. I won NaNo!!! And I completed the second draft of my novel... at 51,026 words. I'm pretty happy... I mean, it needs an intense rewrite... but I actually finished it is the big thing! :D What did I learn? That it's not that hard to write if you just decide to ;) Also, that is doesn't take THAT long to write 1600 words. It was a great experience.

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    1. Congrats, Keturah! So glad to hear that you had a good experience and learned that you could do it!

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  2. I was ahead the first week, then fell behind. Then got ahead again for two days, got behind again and never recovered. Then I quit two days ago still with 15,000 words still to go so that I could focus on a few more pressing projects - one of which I probably should have done for NaNo instead. But I did organize a Black Friday sale for me and some of my fellow Indie Authors, so I don't think I failed.

    What I learned this year, though - If I get a last-minute urge to switch my book, I probably should.

    What I plan to do now that NaNo is over - Finish the book that I should have done for NaNo, and a short story, and find space in my room for my Christmas tree.

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    1. I think sometimes we get so excited about the idea of NaNo that we force it when we really should be prioritizing other things. Good job being sensitive to the needs in your life and schedule and making hard choices. You'll. Get back to that NaNo book someday.

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  3. This is a great post, Jill! Thank you!

    I finished yesterday, but I wrote a bit more this morning just to stay in the story mindset. I still have another 30 to 40k in this book, I think, so I'll press on through December as well. I guess that's my answer to question two :)

    In answer to question one, I learned that even in a busy season of life, slow and steady can add up to a lot. The most I ever wrote in a day was 4,000 words, and that only happened twice. Most my words happened in 1-2k sessions that lasted for about 90 minutes.

    But I do feel like my writing life is very out of balance right now. I've ignored email and other components of my writing life, so I need to scale back on words a bit :)

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    1. So true. Pushing to get those high word counts put me behind in lots of other places, which proved that NaNo is not a pace I can keep up for long.

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  4. I learned that I can write a colossal chunk of words in one sitting. I confirmed what I already knew: I have to write my first drafts the old fashion way - pen and notebook. My creative juices just seen to flow this way. I alternated this year and tried some days typing my scenes on Scrivener without writing them out longhand first. I read through the scenes that I typed and they lacked the raw, visceral emotion found in my handwritten scenes.
    I technically didn't win NaNo, because I haven't found the time to transcribe my handwritten scenes, but I don't count that as a loss, because I accomplished more than I set out to accomplish. I haven't completed the first draft of the book I started for NaNo because I'm just over 50K and this book will come in somewhere between 90 and 100K because I'm slightly past the midpoint of my story, but I know with revisions I will need to cut much of it.
    I learned that I can't do this everyday because I can't neglect my family and other obligations, but if I did only have of this I would get so much more done than I used to.

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    1. Sounds like you had a very rewarding experience. And writing by hand? How neat!

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  5. Still about 400 words away from the 50k, but I'll make it! I've already written over 2k this morning, thanks to NaNoWordSprints on Twitter (not that I have a Twitter account, but I'm still participating).

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  6. Hmm...so what did I learn? I learned that I can write a lot when I turn off my inner editor, and sometimes you don't need music in order to get in the writing mood. And I learned that this is going to be a big book.
    I finished a week early (taking this last week off for Thanksgiving and whatnot) having written 22 chapters, totaling 50K+. And there are an outlined 55 chapters total. So yeah, I'm going to be writing a lot more in December.

    Welp, there's my plan. More writing. But good job to everyone who has finished, and excellent job to those who (while not quite at 50K) pushed on and wrote as much as they could with the time they had. My love to you all!

    And as for writing groups...am I allowed to advertise the one that I am in?

    ~Julian Daventry

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    1. Hey Julian! I'm actually looking to join a writing group, but don't have any social media. If you're looking for new members, I'd love to hear some more about your group!

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    2. We are a group of Christian writers, and have been meeting via email for three or four years (can't quite remember). We share our stories, give advice, seek advice, and so on. If you're interested, I can get you in the email list. We have email meetings once a month, and send out stories whenever we feel like it.
      ~Julian Daventy

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    3. I guess my comment didn't post! Sorry about that. If I fit into your group, I would love to be a part of it. I don't write Christian fiction, but I enjoy reading it and would be willing to critique anyone who does write it. I primarily write science fiction and fantasy. Thank you again!

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    4. Oh, we have a number of writers (including myself) who write sci-fi and/or fantasy! I'm sorry if I gave a fiction-only appearance. :) But we would be happy to have another writer join us! What do you think is the best way to get your email? If you are on NaNo, you can PM it to me. Or if you're fine with putting here. Whatever works with you.
      ~Julian Daventry.

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    7. Right! I've sent you an email!

      ~Julian

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  7. I finished Nano as well! I did the YWP NaNoWriMo again this year and I made it to 30,003 words! :D
    What did I learn? That working with an outline is a miracle and working with few characters (rather than twenty-three billion) is much easier because you can set apart a long amount of time to talk with that character.
    I had a question about editing: do you usually edit on paper or online? Because I don't have enough printer ink or paper to do a mass print of my novel because I can see more of my mistakes offline that I can online, but I'm almost always on my computer so I can start editing now if I wanted to.
    I was thinking maybe that I could print and edit a chapter at a time (which, I hope, would take at least a month to work on one chapter).

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    1. I always edit in Word. I once printed a full manuscript, but I just got frustrated as I'd go type in the change in the computer, anyway. But if you need a printed version, going chapter by chapter is a good idea. You could also take your story on a flash drive to Staples or Office Depot and pay them to print it.

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    2. Do you have an ereader? I've found that I can achieve almost the same affect as printing a book out as emailing it to my kindle and editing there.

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  8. I finished the month with 15,369 words. That's pretty far off from where I wanted to be, but considering all the other life things I've had going on, as well as the fact that I was making no progress on my novel prior to this, I'm very pleased. I definitely intend to continue working on it through December and I'm hoping that by the end of the year I'll have a rough draft of the whole novel - or at least finally reach 50,000 words, since the novel will probably be much longer than that.

    I have two takeaways from this experience. The first is that it doesn't really matter how much you write in a day, as long as you write SOMETHING. I've convinced myself to open my document several times by telling myself, "Just write 100 words; that won't take long." Even a sentence is progress!

    Second, I've realized how much I missed working on a novel. I put it aside because I figured I was just too busy and I should wait until a calmer time of life. But God wired me to write and my life just isn't complete without it. I'm so happy to have gotten rolling on my writing again, and I hope I don't stop anytime soon.

    Thank you everyone for all the support!!!

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  9. I finished off with 70,000+ words. I am so happy right now.. I wrote about 15k today, and because I need sleep and the YWP validation program is not working, I let myself off 5,000 words of what I wanted. Still, this is the longest novel I have written and the most words I have written in a day! I have at least 10k-30k left in my novel, though.

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  10. I finished my first ever complete first draft this month! I reached 50,000 with half an hour left of November. I learned that I love the process of writing a novel and I don't ever want to stop! I think I'm going to go sleep for a while now. Congratulations to all Nanowinners and Nanowriters! We did great things this month!

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  11. So, what did I learn from NaNo this year? That yes, I am able to write 10k in a day, but maybe I shouldn't make a habit of it. Also, the challenge is more enjoyable if you're writing the story of your heart. I'm over 50k in and I'm still not bored or tired of it yet. I still have a ways to go, but I still love it. I know it needs a lot of work, but every part of my being is screaming for this story to be written.

    As for my plans now that it's over, I plan to finish this book in December. I think I have about 30k left. I hope to finish it in the next week or two, since the second half of this month will be crazy, but we'll see how that goes.

    Congrats to all who participated in NaNo. Even if you didn't finish, you're still a winner in my eyes!

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  12. If anything I've learned that writing a first draft will often give you trash, something I already sort of knew, but NaNo solidified. Also, it is possible to write NaNo during school. A bit over 1600 words isn't that much to write in the scheme of things, especially with word wars to help. Also, I should stick to writing genres I'm more comfortable with like fantasy. :)

    I want to finish writing my NaNo draft in December so I can set it aside for a while and focus on my main writing projects. As much as I enjoy writing parts of this story, it is just too much for me right now. I need to do a lot of cutting and research. I'll probably pull it out in a few years.

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