My goal with NaNoWriMo this year was to figure out when and how I get the most writing done. I learned what I need to do to focus and where I need to be. I also learned how long I can focus on writing depending on where I am. The biggest lesson of all, though, is that NaNo is not for me.
Write-ins are a major part of the allure, but they were a complete bust this year. Two events were at a venue that can hardly fit a third of our usual attendees. One was in a room very difficult to find if you don’t already know where it is. Another was unbearably hot. Three events were at the same Subway. Despite all that, the B.Good write-in was the nail in the coffin for me.
We took over the lounge area on the second floor of this B.Good, which worked well for us last year. This year, the room was already packed ten minutes before the event started. There wasn’t a place to sit that didn’t require getting up close and personal with someone else. People sat in windowsills and next to trashcans, making it impossible to move around at all. It was uncomfortable and the temperature of the room kept rising the more people squished in.
Ten minutes after I arrived, I handed in my badge and went downstairs to the empty and significantly cooler main room. I sent word to a couple friends who were overheating upstairs, and we had ourselves a mini-write-in under much more pleasant conditions. We all had chairs and could hear ourselves think. There was no goal bell every few minutes, no door prize drawings taking up the last 20 minutes of the event… Just writing with friends. Relaxed, enjoyable, and productive.
I think that’s when I realized NaNoWriMo was no longer for me. It was a great shove for me two years ago, when it finally motivated me to finish a novel instead of starting one and giving up. I have made wonderful friends and couldn’t be happier with my progress. Contrary to a few years ago, I now understand the complex structure of a novel, the nuances that tie everything together and bring fictional characters to life. I have NaNo to thank for that.
I still highly recommend NaNoWriMo for beginning writers who need motivation to finish a first draft. Even for experienced writers, NaNo can add momentum to get more work done. The write-ins can be tons of fun and many of the people are fantastic. NaNo is a fun and crazy thing to look forward to every year. For me, I’ve reached the point of diminishing returns and the activity is more stressful than helpful (mostly because I’m stubborn and refuse to lose. Don’t judge me!)
My big challenge now is to find a way to stay motivated when not given insane goals. 750words is a possibility, but one that requires an Internet connection. I’m open to ideas if anyone has a suggestion. What do you do to stay motivated with your writing?
Posted on December 5, 2011, in Ishy Writes! and tagged I never read the pep talks -- I find them oddly condescending, I used futureme.org to remind myself to not do NaNo next year. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.