I wasn't supposed to do NaNoWriMo this year. It's the last semester of my undergraduate studies, and with two major research papers and other assignments that needed to be done, I knew that it probably wasn't the smartest idea to try to draft 50k words in 30 days.
I started thinking about it and remembering how participating last year really boosted my confidence as a writer. After this pleasant nostalgia I, against my better judgement, plunged into NaNoWriMo 2017. This time I would be working on finishing a draft I started in June. It already had 35k, but another 50k would round out the story more and would probably finish it up.
Last year, I struggled with making up enough story to hit the needed word count. I had an outline, but it was way too simple and not detailed enough. This led to certain nights during the month when I would stay up late and literally "write until the words got blurry." This was my way of letting the story flow without paying attention to the words on the screen.
This year I had a better plan. I wrote out a list of scenes (30+) so I at least knew what I would be writing each day, and there were certain turning point scenes that I knew would boost my word count.
There were two majorly helpful "reward" systems I used this year: an "advent" reward box filled with chocolate and a monthly calendar. I could open one of the drawers for every 2000 words I wrote, and after each day I would highlight that day on the calendar and would note how many words I had written.
I especially think that the calendar was super helpful because I can now see that even with a few off days, I can still keep up a steady writing pattern. Even if I knew I couldn't reach my goal for the day, I would make myself write something (that's what happened on the 11th when I only wrote 373 words). Of course, it has also shown me just how much I'm capable of (there were 3 days where I hit 3000 words!).
My participation in NaNoWriMo this year was unexpected but it pushed me to keep up with my goals while balancing other work. The words are definitely not the greatest, and I'll need to do some major revising, but they are written and the story has bones now. It's such an amazing feeling to finally have this story in written form and to add another successfully completed NaNoWriMo to my writing experience. While NaNoWriMo may not be for everyone it has certainly helped me a great deal!
To wrap up this post I thought it would be fun to share an aesthetic I made for my story concept. I'm actually looking forward to revising and editing this draft, so this may not be the last time it appears in these blog updates!