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NaNoWriMo Conclusion: I Win!

nanowrimo_certificate_winner_final_fillable2-copyNaNoWriMo Concluding Statistics:

Words Written This Week: 12,695

Total Word Count: 50,129

Percentage Complete (assuming 50K words): 100%! I WIN!

Chapters Written: Prologue + 22 (and part of 23)

Final Week Surprises and Challenges:

Based on my progress earlier this month and my determination to get this done, I never truly despaired that I was going to fail to reach 50,000 words by November 30th. But I did feel concerned when I struggled to hit my word counts during the days surrounding Thanksgiving. It was much harder to write on the days that my family was home. I don’t have an office anymore, so I’ve mostly been doing my writing work on a folding table in front of my couch, with the baby sleeping on my lap. That’s perfectly fine when my daughter and I are the only ones at home, but when my husband and son are there, it’s much more distracting: the TV is often on, my son is playing with toys that make noise, and frankly, I’d rather be spending time with them than having to work.

Luckily, I’d anticipated this problem somewhat, by aiming for higher word counts earlier in the month and lowering my expectations for the holiday weekend, but I knew I still had to get at least 1,000 words on those days to keep up. I only ended up skipping one day for the entire month, and that was Thanksgiving day. The other days of that weekend produced some anxiety, but I managed to squeeze in 1,000-1,500 words whenever I could. It helped that I was at a point in the story where the writing flowed pretty easily.

I actually ended up finishing in just 29 days. On Tuesday, I was 2,770 words from the end. When I’d finished my quota for the day, I chose to just keep going. I “finished” on November 29th before noon.

Except… when I went to claim my win on the NaNoWriMo website the next day, I found myself 270 words short! In my Scrivener file, it was adding the words in my “notes” section to the word count of the manuscript. I didn’t realize that until I compiled it, so I had to quickly write the extra 270 words before submitting. Which means I used all 30 days, although if I’d realized the Scrivener tally error sooner, I would have finished it on the 29th.

Results of NaNoWriMo 2016

The Book: The book itself isn’t finished, though I think I can finish it in 5-10K more (at my current pace, I’ll finish about a week from now if I allow myself a few days off. Which I need). For a first draft, I’m really happy with it. It’s probably the best-organized first draft I’ve ever written. The second draft will need further focus on character and secondary plot points, but the main plot and overall structure is firmly on the page. I credit my pre-planning efforts, as well as allowing myself to be flexible when a new idea arose. (Plantsing, ho!) I anticipate working on a second draft in late spring or early summer, after I complete draft 2 of Blizzard. (I’m on a crop-rotation system when it comes to my novels, and it’s working really well.)

The Process: I’m full of joy and pride. If you’d told me a year ago that I’d win NaNoWriMo during the first 6 weeks of my daughter’s life, I’d never have believed it. (Including the part about the newborn.) A year ago, I wouldn’t have even attempted this, because I didn’t believe I could write fast enough or make it to the end without getting stuck. A year ago, I didn’t have the tools or the confidence.

2016 hasn’t been the greatest year in a global sense, but it’s been a banner one for me. Winning NaNoWriMo is a symbol of how far I’ve come as a writer and in my personal growth.

8 Responses to “NaNoWriMo Conclusion: I Win!”

  1. Marie Hughes says:

    That is so cool — and very impressive!!

  2. Sara L. says:

    YAAHOOOO!! Awesome job, Leanne! 😀 Then again, you’re a winner for trying it in the first place. Are you planning to relax a little bit over the holidays once the first draft is complete?

    • Leanne Sowul says:

      Thanks Sara! Relax? Ummm, kind of. I do need to spend more time on holiday shopping, baking and family events, so I won’t have as much time to write. But I’ve also been waiting all month for the time to work on some of my personal essays and short stories. Let’s just say I’ll probably have more of a balanced life in December before I start Blizzard draft 2 in January.

  3. Congratulations! That is awesome news, and you should be proud!

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