Today marks the last day of National Novel Writing Month, and while my final count of only 1545 words is a small fraction of the 50,000 I needed, I don’t consider participating a mistake.
I didn’t commit to participating until after it had already started. I had done nothing to prepare and had no ideas about what I wanted to do. I’d already been working and re-working a short story, but since goal of the contest was to write a full novel, I needed to come up with a new idea that I could get a full length novel from. I was able to come up with a rough idea within a couple of days and started writing that first week.
I’ve had a few false-starts and the story’s details have shifted slightly, but the overall theme has stayed the same. This has given me some confidence that I can come up with a workable story idea on short notice, which isn’t something I thought I was capable of.
Besides building confidence, NaNoWriMo has helped me break a bad habit. I was finally able to get myself out of self-edit mode when writing. I have always had a problem of writing and rewriting sections over and over again. This slows down the writing process and leads to me over thinking what I’m doing. The end result is usually frustration and deleting the file.
So while I don’t have a lot of words to show for my month, I do have the start of a good story, 3k words of background notes, and some better writing habits. I’m pretty excited about the current story and intend to continue to working on it. I’m definitely planning to try NaNoWriMo next year, and hopefully with a bit more preparation I’ll get to 50,000 words. Having fewer great games released in October and November wouldn’t hurt either.