Today is the last day of my newbie experience with JuNoWriMo. I thought I'd share some highlights and keep the whining to a minimum. The one sentence take-away: Try JuNoWriMo, you'll like it.
1. Thanks to the daily writing, I was (finally!) able to smash through a word count hurdle I'd had for a while. Getting past 20,000 total words in the WIP had been elusive. It felt really freeing to hit that milestone and keep going.
2. Although this sounds obvious as I type it, working on my draft EVERY DAY (at least for a while) really helped me keep my characters consistent and the ideas flowing.
3. Daily writing also allowed me to write in smaller chunks of time. Yes, I am usually obsessing about my story, and have been for the past year, but it was difficult to pick up where I'd left off if I hadn't been able to work on it for a few days or weeks. I'd set up my "writing lair" and spend (way too much) time getting back into the story in a detailed way. But, once I was really into it scene by scene, oftentimes from just hours before thanks to writing every darn day, I didn't feel like I needed a "lair" and could just start typing with a few free minutes. The timer feature on my phone, along with wordsprints really helped with this too.
4. I "met" and interacted with other JuNoWriMo participants, either on the website or via twitter. Except when it becomes a time-suck, twitter is always a good thing. :) I also liked the group experience of knowing there were other writers trying to meet the same goals, struggling too, and generally keeping their sense of humor. See? Twitter is amazing.
5. The JuNoWriMo wordsprints and challenges were helpful. I may not have used all of them, but I started keeping a list and refer to them whenever I get stuck. So, so helpful.
6. Unless today I manage to churn out a freakish amount of words, I am heading into the last hours of JuNoWriMo having written just over 26,000 words in the month of June. My total word count for the WIP is over 41,000! Fan-freaking-tastic. *happy dancing
1. So, technically, I am not a JuNoWriMo winner. I didn't get to 50,000 words. Reaching that goal would have brought me into near completion of my novel. While that would have been great, I'm not entirely bummed. (See above.) I do admire others' commitment and wish them lots of luck catching up on sleep, laundry, etc. I didn't even get that far and I still spent the past few days off work catching up with work. Boo.
2. Too many zero days. Ack! After the first week, I kept a written tally of my daily wordcount. It's possible Scrivener has a way to access this after the fact, but I didn't have time to look for that feature. I just wrote it down before logging off for the night. Anyway, out of the thirty days in June I had 12 zero word count days. I am fighting back the shame. Bad writer. But, the bright side is that I did what I could do and it wasn't that bad. Now, in terms of those zero days, I think if I'd been able to squeak out some words each day, I would be that much closer. I'm sure you can all figure this out, but it was something to experience that after three days of writing 1667 words/day, you hit 5000 words. Just three days. That feels fabulous. Yay, math!
3. I haz excuses. I won't bore you with them. I'm using them to see if I'll do NaNoWriMo. *wiping tears out of my eyes. So crazy. I doubt at this point that I will because November is a very busy month for me (as it is for lots of people), but I am actively trying to take lessons learned from WriMo-ing and apply them to my writing. Although, now that I think about how awful the weather is in November, why wouldn't I be happier writing? Hm.
Just thought of another for my first list. I know that there are lots of ways of learning: observation, practice, experience, etc. I'm not always a fan of experience (yes, I'm working on this trait of cautiousness), but there are things I learned about myself and my writing from DOING JuNoWriMo. These things were in theory until I could actually try and then have the "Oh yeah that does happen" moment. For instance: a first draft is a first draft--just write it, tell your inner editor to zip it, write scenes out of order and then move them around as you need to, daily writing is a great strategy but you can pick up if you are exhausted and need a couple of days to just rest. See. Learning.
I wish you all the best in your writing and in achieving your goals, whatever they are. :)