NaNoWriMo ended ten days ago. I had time to rest, to think, to decide what I learnt from the experience of fully participating in it.
Last years, while I knew about it, I didn’t register on the site and I had no novel to announce. I was a rebel, counting for myself the words I was writing for Before the Mast and other RPGs I might have been a member of in one or another year. Usually they amounted to a little over 40,000 words. I was availing myself of the opportunity of the writing sprints and prompts organised by RPG-Directory and they helped me further the story we were writing interactively. In November it was time to catch up with character journals, to write those threads between my own characters I had never time for in the previous months, and the story went on.
This year I have been an official NaNoWriMo participant, starting a novel in my mother tongue with the characters I have Before the Mast. The setting is the same – the West Indies – just 2 years before the site’s, and the story is not exactly the same. For being only my characters, the pirate crew of the “Arrow” has components who had belonged to the privateers Before the Mast, as here we have no privateer ship to follow. Other characters’ roles and allegiances were changed too.
This is good, because the story is different, but still circumscribed to the setting I had researched a lot for. The alternative would have been to have written the sequel of my already published book, but that hadn’t been researched enough yet, and this would have blocked my productivity.
So, what have I learnt by doing NaNoWriMo in high conditions of stress, working overtime for 3 weeks, with the week-ends between them included and being confronted also with health problems?
- If in those given conditions I succeeded, anybody can succeed, with some ambition, determination and writing discipline.
- Writing in your mother tongue isn’t any easier than writing in English, especially when you have written more in English about certain subjects and you realize you are lacking the appropriate terminology in your mother tongue. Dictionaries are suddenly your best friends…
- The local NaNoWriMo team’s support is essential, and also the forum’s general support. One can ask a question and find answers to get unstuck and go further, one can find the lost determination to finish and to win.
- The support of the family and friends to whom you have confessed your goal is also needed. Warmest thanks to my husband and my mother, who had accepted my goal and had actively helped me by relinquishing most household duties from me and asking stimulating questions. I thank my work colleagues too, who rooted for me and let me write during the last days, when things were quieter on the office front, and who celebrated winning with me. I thank also to my writing partners Before the Mast, who encouraged me and supported me in this endeavour.
- Word sprints and prompts are helpful too. This year I got only 2 days of writing sprints on RPG-Directory. I could do none on the NaNoWriMo site, since they were timed always for USA only. And it showed in the less productive days than last years, when sprints were common every day.
There is only one more NaNoWriMo aspect to be mentioned in another post, maybe tomorrow, maybe another day next week…