As promised, here is a fulsome review of my experience of NaNoWriMo 2021.
I had no expectation of winning this year. Because I had just come out of an autistic burnout and was finding writing or revising anything challenging, I decided to be a NaNo Rebel again this year and I set my goal low.
In addition to revising Reality Bomb and filling in my chapter and scene map for the novel, I was going to write my Speculations column for DIY MFA, work on a short story (I had hoped, more than one), and to round things out, I also counted my blogging. In short, I counted everything I wrote in the month.
Even so, I thought I’d only get 30,000 words revised on RB, 2,500 words each on the short story and blog, and 1,000 words on my column. 36,000 words seemed like a reasonable goal.
I did have the first two weeks of November off work. I was kind to myself, got a solid 8 hours sleep each night, ate well, walked Torvi twice a day, watched television and streaming, and played a computer game as a nightly reward. I didn’t put any pressure on myself. I think it was a good approach 🙂
Between RB and the map, I revised 44,854 words, or 150% of my goal.
I finished my short story in 1,424 words, which was only 57% of my goal. I also submitted it.
I blogged 2,138 words, or 86% of that goal.
On my column, I wrote 1,653 words, which was 165% of my goal there.
Plus, I wrote 360 words on a little side project.
I wrote 5,575 words of the 6,000 I had intended to. That’s 93% of my writing goal.
My winning total for NaNoWriMo 2021 is 50,899, but when I add everything I recorded up, it totals 50,429. So, I made a mistake of 470 words somewhere. Still, I won!
I had expected my progress to slow when I returned to work. And it did, but the progress I’d made in the two weeks I was off, plus the work I was able to do on the weekends was enough to shore up the low production days.
I’ve hit a problematic part of RB at this point, though. And I don’t think it’s a coincidence that it’s the mid-point of the novel. Yes, my middle is saggy. It’s going to require some thought and strategic thinking to tighten it up.
So, I’m going to take another little break, let things percolate for a bit, decorate the house for Christmas (which I haven’t done for … years), and marshal my resources.
I don’t know if I’ll get back to revisions later this month or wait until the new year. I’m going to take the same approach I did with NaNo. I’m going to be kind to myself, set reasonable expectations, and do what I can.
The other factor at play is my recent diagnosis as autistic. I’ve found a therapist, joined a support group, and I’m looking at workplace accommodations. And I’m working full time. I know there are a lot of authors who work full time, but with this new understanding of, and context for my life, I can see the times when I’ve been overwhelmed and burned out. I can’t do it all, all the time.
This weekend, I’ll be posting my next chapter update for October and November (the November piece should be short, ‘cause mini updates).
Until then, be well and stay safe; be kind and stay strong. The world needs your stories!