Last month, I took part in the National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo, a writing challenge that encourages everyone with a book in them to write 50,000 words in the month of November.
And I won!
As it turns out, November was an incredibly busy month for me. I was involved in several volunteer projects, which included attending meetings, leading to two whole days of zero writing. Some days, hitting the computer seemed like the hardest thing in the world.
I got off to a good start in the challenge by keeping pace with the 1,667 words I needed to write on a daily basis. However, on Day 11, I hit a roadblock. I wrote nothing for the next few days, then wrote a little, then again nothing for a while.
The thing about this challenge is that a month isn't enough time to procrastinate--at least, not to procrastinate well.
I realized that the worst move I could make was to fall behind in the first days of NaNoWriMo. In the last few weeks, I had to write my butt off, putting in at least 2,000 words every day, whether I wanted to or not. Without this last minute push, I would have never finished on time.
Tip: Have a viable story idea in your back pocket. When I first ran out of writing juice, it was because my idea had run its course. I didn't know where else to take my heroine. That was the point at which having a story outline or even a few plot points jotted down would have come in really handy.
So, in reality, the days I spent not writing were spent trying to work out where I was going. It was time well spent, but it was time I could have put aside in October, before I was faced with a crunch deadline.
In all, NaNoWriMo was a great experience. I got to spend more time with my writing than ever before and I was happy producing so many pages, even if after 50,000 words, my novel is nowhere near finished. Plus, winning was a real rush!
But, next year, I will definitely outline my novel in advance.