Success! Winning NaNoWriMo for the second year

It was a relief and deep feeling of happy¬† success to hit the 50k word mark this week. To have the Nano staff give a series of cheers in celebration was fantastic, sure. But I think the best part was realising I have increased my word rate and it didn’t hurt a bit. This needs a bit more explanation. Winner-2014-Twitter-Profile

When I first started this writing gig back in the early 2000s seriously, I was writing about 1000 words per session (WPS). That was in around an hour, more or less, depending on how much research I needed to do as well. Since I was writing in a group of four (at first) and we set a per person 1000 WPS quota, we were getting around 4k words per week. Not bad we thought. I’ve since discovered that’s not even close to productive.

In last year’s Wrimo I upped the rate to around 1500+ words per session, a bit over of course to meet the 50k for the month (1670 is the daily amount for doing 50k in the month). That was a real increase for me. I felt good. Guess what — this year I upped that again to an avg of 2000 WPS! That’s a 30% increase year on year. One day I even knocked out 4000 words. And it was quite comfortable. I also feel that 2000 WPS is the minimum level I need to write to make this writing thing work. I need to get to those levels regularly when actually writing (as opposed to revising/editing for final publication) if I intend to keep motivated, and to develop two different series, as well as stand alones. And I’ve found out in this Nano I can actually do this.

I think it’s just psychological. Once you find out you can do something because you’ve actually done it once, it’s not so unbelievable any more — obviously. It’s nice to realise that I can take this 50k milestone base, work for another 2 weeks or so to create the next 30k, and end up with a complete manuscript before Christmas. If you had pointed this out to me last year I wouldn’t have believed you. Now I do. And I thank NanoWrimo for getting me here.

As my online friend Connie says: Good Writing! I’ll add – lots of words!

2 thoughts on “Success! Winning NaNoWriMo for the second year

  1. Hi Jan,
    Thank you for the link to this article (received via NaNo correspondence). As you noted, I managed to hit 2k regularly, and sometimes 4k, per day during NaNoWriMo also. For me, the major factor was having a deadline – such as 50k words in November – but the result is now that I know I CAN do it!
    Two other factors that really helped were:
    Firstly, using Caroline Norrington’s Scrivener template with the Snowflake Method – I did a fair bit of preparation beforehand on plot, background and characters. Without that preparation my writing speed is abysmal.
    Secondly, having read Rachel Aaron’s “2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love” – OK, I am not at that speed yet but now have a stretch target! When I first read this, like you I regarded 500 words a day as good!
    If you have not come across this book, it is only 99p (on UK Amazon at least) as a Kindle book. In a way, this links back to the previous factor since much of it is about preparation before you write. However, I liked her introduction of a “triangle” of Knowledge, Time and Enthusiasm. In particular, for the third side: the piece that sticks with me is “Enthusiasm – If writing feels like pulling teeth, you’re doing it wrong; Paradigm shove: if you are not enjoying your writing, you’re doing it wrong”.
    Phillip Spencer
    (NaNoWriMo-ing as “nightspore”)

    1. Thanks for the reply, Phillip, and the reco for the book on increasing output. Will check it out.

      I like the idea of the triangle of concepts. And I agree, enthusiasm is crucial. I find if I mull over a problem or a possible story direction at night, I am much more enthusiastic to incorporate it the next day. I trust my subconscious that it will still be there when I wake up, after I’ve let my mind work things out while I’m sleeping. And when I’m in the zone, time is no longer even noticed. I can sit here when the words are flowing, miss meals, ignore the world, and find myself 3 hours later wondering what just happened. As for knowledge, well, we’re back to the ‘write what you know’ thing, which I blogged about earlier regarding how I interpret that one.

      Good writing, Phillip!

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