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NaNoWriMo - Afterthoughts

A while ago now, I wrote a post saying I was considering doing NaNoWriMo in November. As you’ll probably know if you read my Facebook/Twitter updates in that period, or even spoke to me in real life (gasp), I ended up doing it. And then, I “won” it.

Not just based on the criteria outlined in that original post, no, I ended up doing the full fifty thousand. Why? Do I regret it? Did I learn anything? Well, in order to make my post understandable in an increasingly short-spanned world, I have broken this down into three points.

1) I need a better laptop.

Not the most interesting of discoveries, but probably the most important. My laptop, for those who haven’t encountered it, is massive, old and was bought on eBay for less than a hundred pounds about five years ago, so could well be approaching its tenth birthday. Here’s a picture of said laptop compared to a lovely modern MacBook Air.

Performance-wise, it does suffice, since it can run Word as long as I don’t use anything else at the same time. In terms of concentrating on my writing, this could be a good thing.

The reason it may get pensioned off anyway is the battery-life, which is non-existent. Once removed from power, we’re talking minutes. This was tolerable most of the time, as when I went to these communal writing events, other people had power extensions, but sometimes, major inconvenience to myself or others was caused. If I’m going to continue going to such things post-NaNo (and I might), it’s time to upgrade.

2) Other NaNo people are, it turns out, pleasant

So, yeah, I actually went to those meet-ups and it turns out other people who do NaNo in London are friendly. I’ve done the challenge a few times before, but usually as an exercise in typing away in isolation, with slight encouragement from my friend up the road.

Well, said friend dropped out of any kind of competition after about a week this year, and has also moved to Oxford, so I thought it might be interesting to go and encounter others. Not to mention, at the time I was still entirely unemployed and looking for any encouragement to stop procrastinating.

And yes, everyone was welcoming, I eventually learnt people’s names and have a few new people to talk to on Twitter, and what more could you want from anything? (If you’re me and have a skewed sense of priorities.) Oh, and one of them ended up getting a job in my office. See, if I hadn’t socialised during NaNo, an aspiring author in London might still be unemployed.

3) I also did some actual writing

Yeah, the part where I wrote fifty thousand words. As I muttered in the previous blog post, I was going to try some kind of quality-over-quantity drive, in which I produce less at a more focused speed. That obviously went out the window in the latter days, especially the final few in which I wrote approximately five thousand words each day.

Does this mean the last 15K or so will just be deleted? Very possibly. I have shown a range of earlier chapters to people and had varying feedback (ranging from “this is really good” to “this is awful, just start again”), so there will be extensive re-writes. But I am aiming to try and keep a more ongoing rewrite process going, and end up with something that doesn’t need as many years of edits to become worthwhile.

Having said all that, I have been utterly fatigued since finishing. This and the last three or four Dork Adore reviews have been the only writing I’ve really done. I’m hoping to get back into it soon, though. We’ll see. It was definitely a positive experience, anyway.

And congrats to anyone who stuck with the whole of this blog post. More to the point, congrats to anyone who took part in NaNo, win or lose. It was a good time.


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