Learning from NaNo, Round 2: Final Impressions

First of all: I won. All right, moving on.

I have to admit, NaNo has done wonders for my productivity. While I’d made some progress on the GV project, including a pile of sketches, a couple of pseudo-outlines, and the introductory arc with its dramatic-sounding prologue, I’d gotten dead stuck somewhere around the time I needed to introduce the first short arc with a flurry of names, and stayed that way for a month or two. And now? Ninety-eight pages. On a two update a week schedule, focusing only on drawing the pictures, I could probably make it to next NaNo before I’d need to write anything in the story that wasn’t part of one of the very few parts I didn’t end up patching up while desperate for wordcount. I can certainly say that being able to track my progress was a definite help (all right, except near the end when all I could see was how small the increments of my increase were); there’s something very fulfilling about seeing that little blue bar get larger and larger, or watching my stats back when my writing was still above the recommended average rate per day.

I’m not sure I would have made it if it hadn’t been for the closure of the library this month, and our reassignment to Community Services. The efficiency of the lady I was assigned to work under, and my own speed at the tasks that did get through her and end up in my lap, gave me a lot of writing time, and particularly writing time of the “me, my notebook, and my lack of other things to do” variety.

While it did boost productivity, the format of NaNo worked counter to one of my major creative methods: that of getting the subconscious to work on a project. The project was always front and center and, once I got out of the first major arc and found myself lost again, too front and center for me to think through clearly. The last time I wrote a novel like this, it was spread out over a school year or so (high school, to be exact), though my frantic attempts to transcribe the silly thing over the last three weeks or so of school probably reached NaNo-esque proportions. This time, when I hit all the spots that slowed me down, I had to either skip over them (and hope the next wasn’t similarly terra incognita) or just stop writing for the day and hope I could catch up later.

Did having friends involved help? I wasn’t sure. It was nice having people cheering me on, but on the other hand, when one pretty much finished in a little over a week and was glibly talking about making a goal out of finishing twice right when I was most blocked, and the other was doing 5k days when I was doing my level best to make it into the four digits for one day’s wordcount—well, let’s just say it was inferiority complex fodder and leave it at that.

Would I do it again? Part of me says “heck, no!” and rummages for the chocolate. But then there was night before last. I read the pep talk of the day. Noticed the link to ScriptFrenzy in April. Looked through it. (Realized they encouraged graphic novelists.) Got that little gleam of a challenge.

Here we (might) go again!

1 comment

  1. Michael says:

    Congratulations! :) I was pretty sure you’d make it.

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