I actually did it! In 23 days, I wrote 50k words of a brand new novel! It was a grueling, tedious process, but in the end, I’m happy with my progress. How was it? Let’s jump right into that.
For day one, I stayed up the night before writing blog posts and newsletters for the entire month of November. Once the clock struck midnight, I started writing. I was tired, but I managed to get 1.3k in before going to sleep. I finished the rest when I woke up.
I should also explain that I am a high achiever and like to push myself way too much. Thus, I set a goal of 2k words per day, just in case I ended up not being able to write every day. I also told myself I couldn’t count the thousands of words I was putting into my blog, job applications, IG, and emails. (Some of them were super long.) Spoiler alert: I wrote an average of 2k+ per day. I also finished on the 23rd instead of the 30th.
The first two weeks were probably the easiest. Spirits were high, the novelty was still there, and excitement was in the air. Over the course of 14 days, I got about 31k in—not at all bad for a first-time NaNo’er.
Then, the midway slump hit. Day 15 came around, and I was feeling really tired of writing (as opposed to just kind of tired). I was having issues with my outline, and I didn’t feel “into” my story anymore. However, I kept going through it day by day, reminding myself that I just needed 2k.
I Won NaNoWriMo
And then the 23rd rolled around. I never wake up at 5 am. However, morning came, and instead of seeing it was still early and going back to sleep, I decided to get up and write. Might have had something to do with the fact that there was only 3k left to reach my goal.
At first, I wasn’t sure if I’d finish NaNo that day. I’d spent some time posting on my blog and social media, as well as sending out a newsletter, and by dinner, I only had 2k (as opposed to the 3k I’d hoped to achieve). I then debated whether I should sprint to the end or save it for the next day.
I chose to sprint.
I was excited, and I was writing a good scene, so by 9 pm, I’d reached 50k. It didn’t feel real at first. I was only 40% or so through the first draft, so it also didn’t feel right. However, after telling a few people and looking at the 16 chapters I had in Google Docs, I felt somewhat accomplished. Honestly, it was kind of underwhelming. (Plus, there’s an outline situation going on, but we won’t get into that.)
My Experience + Burn Out
First of all, I knew what I was getting into when I jumped into the challenge. I knew it would be grueling, tedious work, and I knew I would probably get burnt out—and I did, to some extent.
However, I didn’t entirely get burnt out. Even though I’d done a more manageable version of NaNo a few months back (1.5k every week day) which made me feel dead afterwards, I didn’t get burnt out like before. Instead, I feel rejuvenated in some sort of way. And you know whom I have to thank for that?
1. The Lord. Obviously. Without Him, I wouldn’t have been able to do this (or anything for that matter).
2. The friend I did NaNoWriMo with. He’s been so encouraging and such a pleasure to talk to, and it made November a lot easier. Adam, if you’re reading this, thank you. I don’t know if I could’ve done as well as I did without you. You made every chunk of writing something to look forward to, and seeing your example of consistency throughout your (much crazier) life made me want to grow in that area…and just your less worried, more positive outlook on things. You’re writing style is awesome👌I can’t wait to see more of it!
3. Jessica (@a.faith.so.strong) and our wonderful email chats. The emails are long and sometimes go into great depth. Most people would be horrified by the amount of questions I ask, but Jessica and I have this in common, so everything works out perfectly. Love you, Jessica! *hugs*
4. The young Christian writer community on Instagram. I know some of you are reading this, so I’ll thank you again. You guys have held me accountable and made every day of NaNo exciting. You have cheered me on and celebrated milestones with me, and on those days when I felt like giving up and going to sleep, I knew I had to update my word count, and it couldn’t look pitiful
5. And of course, my family. They tried to give me as much time as possible for my writing. Even when I was feeling stressed out and grumpy from difficult writing days, they were kind to me and gave me my space. Thank you, guys.
In conclusion, NaNoWriMo was stressful, tedious, and sometimes tiring, but every day was filled with laughter, surprises, and fun. I’m thankful I took up the challenge. However, I don’t plan on attending again.
*remembers every time I told myself I was done writing, and a new book idea popped into my head and nagged me until I wrote it*
If you did NaNoWriMo, how was your experience? Did you reach your goal? Tell me in the comments, because I’d love to hear about it!