November I took part in the NaNoWriMo challege, and this July I decided to join the Camp NaNoWriMo challenge to write another novel I have been thinking about for a long time.
The differences between the two experiences are significant. I started this challenge with the knowledge that I had already succeeded the first time I tried, so I was more confident that it could be done. I also knew that writing the daily target word count was not going to be too difficult for me, though sometimes I knew that the quality of what I was writing was not my best. This time, there were several days when I was unable to write, and there were several days when I had to catch up, writing the word count target for two or three days in one session. I think the most I managed to write in one day was about 4,000 words (with about 1,660 being the daily target), which I recently read a published author saying was about the maximum output he could manage in a day. So I now know that when necessary I can do much more than the minimum.
I am not a summer person, and the heat bothers me a lot. July is probably my least favourite month of the year. However, I was happy to retreat to my air conditioned office and work on my novel in the heat of the afternoon, trying to imagine it was cooler outside. I was also fortunate to have less pressure of work this month, allowing me to concentrate on my writing. I now feel ready to take on a greater work burden, having spent a month expressing my creative side.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I did not have time to outline this novel. My experience last November, and this current experience, have shown me that I would prefer to outline and plan the novel in advance. I had to make up quite a lot as I went along, and the pacing of the story is not quite right. Both this novel and the one I wrote in November will need a lot of rewriting to be considered finished to my satisfaction. The rewriting process will teach me a lot, and inform my future writing efforts.
I recommend this challenge, which is also taking place this August, to aspiring writers who have yet to make the commitment to write every day. The pressure can be difficult, but I believe it is a worthwhile experience and life lesson. Professional writers almost all advocate writing every day, with some giving themselves a minimum word count to achieve. I look forward to taking the November NaNoWriMo challenge, this time with a novel I hope to outline in advance.