I am a very busy person.
In fact, at the end of October, it had reached a point in my life where if you wanted to add something to my schedule, you would have to let me know at least a week in advance. I hadn’t written anything more than a thousand words of fiction since early June and my YouTube career was on the brink of collapsing because I couldn’t keep up with the weekly upload.
So of course, like the sane person I am, I decided to participate in National Novel Writing Month despite being a full-time college student with three jobs and everything else going on in my life.
(Psst: If you’re new to this, National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo for short takes place in November and challenges authors to write 50,000 words in only one month. There’s no prize besides pride and you can’t even think about publishing the novel until mid-January when agencies re-open from the holiday/NaNo madness. Yay writing?)
Frankly, I don’t even remember exactly why I wanted to participate. I first participated in 2011 and actually won so, honestly, I never really found a point for attempting it again. I had already proven myself worthy of writing 50,000 words in one month so, in my mind, there was no point in doing it a second time. Especially since I had already written an entire novel outside of NanoWriMo so why should I reserve one month for it?
Although I didn’t realize it at first, my impulsive participation in NanoWriMo quickly became one of the best things that happened to me this year.
The almost required daily word count forced me to utilize my free time to write rather than film videos or watch Game Grumps and that made me much happier as a person. Writing has always been a passion of mine and, as I wrote in this blog post, it’s a way that helps me relax from the stress of life. It helped that since I converted filming time into writing time, I forced myself to quit worrying so much about my YouTube channel which dropped my stress level.
It’s almost funny how a supposedly stressful event such as NanoWriMo made me way more relaxed as a person. The only time I was truly stressed out was when I went home for break and helped my parents build their house which greatly diminished my writing time. Other than that, NanoWriMo was an absolute breeze. It was surprising to see how quickly my word count rose in the month.
Now if you showed this blog post to me in 2011 and first participating in NanoWriMo, I probably would’ve screamed at you.
In 2011, I only had two novels under my belt. The first was one I wrote in junior high and will never see the light of day as long as I’m alive and the second was the second draft of my YA superhero novel that I’m currently trying to publish. When I participated in NanoWriMo 2011, it definitely was the stress fest everyone made it out to be. I struggled to make plot points meet and constantly wrote in circles or cheated by making impossibly long names that the characters insisted on using for honor or some other poor excuse (I’m looking at you Sir Pumpsy Nickleton Harrison-Jenkins of Wales, good sir).
But for 2015…none of that happened. I wrote half of an authentically honest novel without much effort. Okay yeah I’ll admit that I cheated by having a deaf character that needed conversations repeated to her through sign language sometimes, but ultimately it wasn’t to the extent I abused in my 2011 NanoWriMo story. I don’t know if it’s the fact I’m more experience now that I’ve written two novels and one novel four different times (I don’t care how many drafts I have to write you will be published, Superhero Story) or the fact I didn’t force myself to tell an entire story in only 50,000 words and allowed myself to end the challenge in the middle of the book, but this NanoWriMo was an absolute breeze.
However, a lot of things in my life took the fall for my obsession with my newest manuscript. My YouTube channels and blog, for example, haven’t been updated at all in the month of November and honestly…I’m kind of okay with that. The channels need a re-vamp anyway to accommodate for the changing YouTube atmosphere and I needed the break to re-charge myself and focus on my one love: writing.
So that’s my odd NanoWriMo experience. A lot of sacrifice for a manuscript I had no investment in prior to the contest I had no interest in participating in until the day before and all of it made me a much happier person and brought me out of the funk I was in until that point. I made some new friends, I lost control of my media empire, and I remembered how great it felt to dive into a new world that I could control.
I just love writing and this NanoWriMo brought that love back to life. Now back to my manuscript! The first 50k words might be done, but there’s the next 50k and revisions left to go before I can even consider that the novel is done.
Congrats to all of my fellow NanoWriMo winners and participants! Even if you didn’t win, you’re still a winner for choosing to write and not giving up.
Wanna know what it’s like one year after you finish your novel? Check out my personal experience with that rude awakening here and check out my other blog posts about writing here as well.