The End of NaNoWriMo
It's December and y'all know what that means. NaNoWriMo - a yearly writing challenge in which one writes 50,000 words of a novel or project in 30 days or less - is officially over. It's great motivation for slow writers, authors, people who want to give writing a shot. It's a challenge that I didn't do last year, but I've done for three years.The evolution of my NaNo writing has been slow and steady over the years, but it's finally shaping into a productive tool for my writing. Although I am a blogger - primarily, a reader and student - I'm a writer at heart. I write thousands of words a day, whether for AP US History essays, or blog posts, or emails, or short stories, or poems. I'm always working on a dozen projects at once, not necessarily novels, but endeavors.The first year that I did NaNoWriMo, I wrote with exhaustion. I wrote nonsensical, elaborate passages where my characters didn't particularly do much other than enjoy the scenery. It was an appeal to my writing style, my emotional and flowing style of prose that can be weak purely because I get too invested in the little details and not the structure, or drown myself in what my characters should be doing rather than what's realistic. It's easy to get entrenched in that mindset.This year, I was determined to use organization. At the beginning of the month, I wrote a post with a few NaNoWriMo tips for first-time writers, and decided to firmly stick to those points.I originally decided to use my NaNo time as a way of generating the short stories, essays, and poems that I needed for various writing projects. It is how I got my Princeton portfolio done, as well as YoungArts. Unfortunately, my essay I Was Here was rejected by YoungArts, but I haven't heard back about poetry yet so there's hope! For those of you interested in my writing pursuits, you can check out my word vomit and free-writing over at These Vivid Bones.After that was done, I scrambled to plot well before diving into NaNo. I don't believe that I have the mental stamina it would take to write a book yet - and I'd be too prideful to admit it to my peers if I did write one until I got some gratification, just in case it failed- but over the course of the month, a story definitely took shape.I'm an organized person by nature. I'll be writing a post on that later this month, showing y'all how I organize my blogging lifestyle. For NaNoWriMo, I pulled out a white binder, some dividers, and stuffed it with paper. I printed out my spreadsheet outline of the story that I wanted to write and hole punched it to fit neatly in the (laminated) sleeve at the forefront.When I was in school (or bored out of my mind), I could always pull it out and work on plotting/characters/lines until I got home to write it in Scrivener. Because, after all, It's a truth universally acknowledged that your best writing ideas will come to you when you're driving or in the shower. After pulling into a parking lot, or getting dressed before bed, the first thing I'd to is bolt to my computer to write a few thousand words.Because I am a student, a very divided one at that, I missed a few nights. My session goal count - a feature from Scrivener that I absolutely adore - would climb up to unattainable heights and I'd bemoan the fact that I wouldn't make NaNo this year, that anything I wrote in those marathon sessions wouldn't be usable anyways.Towards the end of the month, I started bringing my computer to school to write during my study hall and after school, and anywhere and everywhere. Once I hit a certain point, the words started flowing and I became such a devout listener to those strikes of inspiration. One of the best parts about getting really involved with a story is that the characters and the plot develop when you're not thinking about them. There's a point when it becomes so ingrained in your mind and in your words that you adopt the voice you want, the style you want, with it truly taking on a life of its own.I haven't done that many stretches where I sit down and become entirely absorbed, but a switch has been turned. I haven't been able to stop writing. I have to write short stories for Scholastic this month and I want to write every short story I've ever had an idea for. Additionally, my editing mindset makes me painfully aware that I just ended the last sentence in a preposition. If you follow me on Twitter, you'll see that I've been writing short snippets of poems nonstop.So I'm in a writing mood, and I've been sticking with it since NaNoWriMo ended. I won, thankfully, but I'm endlessly grateful for the flow of ideas and words that I've been aching to write down. I hope that doesn't stop anytime soon. NaNo this year was tough because of time and mental energy, but I feel good about what I wrote!Here's a screenshot of what I'm working on, and the stories encased in there. Next goal: 80,000.