NaNoWriWoes: The After-Woes of Completing NaNoWriMo

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For those of you that don’t know, the cluster of weird uppercase and lowercase letters, NaNoWriMo, stands for , a 501(c)(3) non-profit that focuses on a seat-of-your-pants style of creative writing. The goal: to write a 50,000 word novel starting November 1st, and reaching the word count before 11:59PM on November 30th. Squished between two of my favorite holidays (Halloween and Thanksgiving) and paired with that inevitable time of year that all my school work is due simultaneously, it is always challenge. But, this year, I was able to conquer the beast known as Time Managementus, and I completed my novel. But this next part? The editing? Well, that’s a challenge in itself.

1. Spell check yourself before you wreck yourself

In order to keep momentum, I never corrected a misspelled or mistyped word. I figured I could go back and do a massive spellchecking later. Well, I spelled and mistyped a lot of words. Which is annoying now. And time consuming. And another reason to avoid the story and avoid editing. In retrospect, this was a bad idea.

2. I wrote 1,667 words every day for a month and all I got was this stupid novel

I mean man , this novel is really stupid. There are vampires and zombie-witches, and a strange large Super Smash Bros. like brawl where you don’t actually see any fighting because I didn’t feel like writing it. Also there’s a good 500 word section where I wrote half asleep which manifested in complete nonsense. But, I’m still in love with the original idea of this novel, and that’s what counts. Right?

3. It’s 2:00AM, do you know where your plot is?

Looking back at how this plot turned out is like waking up in your roommates bed after a long night of drinking, with mystery stains on your favorite shirt and saying, what happened? My plot escalated so quickly. This is nothing like what I originally imagined. How can I get back to my original idea now that I have approximately 30,000 words that I don’t even like?

4. Yesterday, I couldn’t remember my characters name

How could I forget you, character I didn’t spend any time developing.

5. Fear

You know how sometimes you stand at the top of your basements stairs, and it’s dark and you can’t see all the way down and there’s no way you’re going down there? Yeah, convincing myself to open up my NaNoWriMo word doc is a little bit like that experience right there. I’m frightened . What if I go back in there and it all sucks and I’m uninspired. Or worse , what if I go in there and I start writing all these crazy ideas and I can never stop and nothing comes from it all. What if I no longer have any excuses for why I can avoid telling this story?

And that’s the beauty of NaNoWriMo—that finally, the idea, or words, or mumbling thoughts that have existed in only your brain, have found a home on the page. It might be a mismatched fixer-upper house, with chilly drafts coming through your watermelon-sized plot holes, but at least it’s a home. At least it’s a start.

What are your NaNoWriMo Woes? Or your Post-NaNo editing advice? Tell us in the comments, or tweet us at @fandommatters.

4 comments

  1. Hi, loved this post! My main woe from NaNoWriMo was having an additional 30000 words to write to make it an appropriate length for my genre. It was like, “yay I’m done! Oh wait, no, not really.” However, now that I’m finished, I’m taking six weeks off before editing. After writing so many words in such a short time, I think all NaNo winners should take a break to save their minds!

    Thanks again for posting!

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  2. Hi, just want you to know that I admire you creative style. Why? Mostly because it like a muffin instead of a cake. Lots of variety thrown together in a modest way, small interesting bites. Be encouraged.

    The style I want to develop is a 200 word, three paragraph read. Working towards that.

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  3. I haven’t opened up the word doc yet. Afraid to see how bad things really were. I’m hoping a reread at some point though will remind me of some sparkling moments or things I actually liked about it…because right now it’s mainly a lot of shuddering when I think about specifics of it.
    (Not that it wasn’t great fun [and struggle] like always to do it).

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  4. I published my book… I wrote it during NaNoWriMo, and had real paper copies ready to go by Christmas. It’s not 50,000 words, which makes me a rebel. As for woes, my illustrator flaked out on me, so there are no photos and the cover is very amateurish. I have a few typos, some missing words, and some important pieces missing from my story. My nieces really liked it though, so that’s what counts.

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