I haven’t written any dedicated NaNoWriMo blog posts this year, and I kind of regret that. So here’s my thoughts on how NaNoWriMo 2017 went for both myself and my region, Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Here are my thoughts on my second year acting as an ML (municipal liaison), and my fifth year participating in NaNoWriMo overall.
Fits off, let’s start with my region. I’m currently sitting in our last write-in of the month, the mad dash to midnight. It’s a last minute write in for those struggling to win by the end of the month, and it’s impressive how some people are able to pump out thousands of words in one sitting with all the distractions. I know several people have already won since arriving here, and I’m writing this before 10. Of all the mad-dash to midnights I’ve been to, this is easily the most well-attended. There are at least 12 of us, and there may be more by the end of the month.
As a whole, attendance seemed to be relatively even throughout the month, instead of people slowly drifting off towards the end. How many people show up to each event still varies of course. Some write-ins only have a handful of people. On some others, it’s challenging to find enough seats for everyone.
Also as usual, the overnight write-in is always the best part of the month. At first everyone is really productive, writing more than a thousand words an hour. As the night went on, people started getting more and more delirious. We started laughing at increasingly dumb things, and we started making less and less sense. Well, except for Seann. More on him later. By the end of the 12 hour writing marathon, there are few people still left in the building, and fewer left still focusing enough to write. It helps that the other ML and I split up running the overnighter – she ran the first half, and I ran the second. We’re both 30+ – we’re arguably both too old to run an entire overnighter on our own.
Word wars are another fun aspect of write-ins. They’re contests where people compete to see who can write the most words within a time limit – we usually do 10-minute word wars. There are several people in our region consistently writing in the range of 700-800 words in every 10-minute word war. Special Kudos to Seann, who completely dominated the word wars throughout the month by consistently writing high 700’s to low 800’s in every word war, sometimes even nearing 900. Only once did he compete in a word war that he didn’t win throughout the entire month. Here’s the one person who beat him. He also wrote nearly 20,000 words at the overnighter alone. That’s insane.
As an ML, I must admit that the other ML and published author, Vanessa Ricci-Thode, does a lot more work at setting things up than I do. I can admit that I have some shortcomings that I need to work on. That said, I feel like I did a better job overall this year than I did last year. I do enjoy helping run events, encouraging people to compete in word wars and otherwise encouraging everyone’s progress. I think I managed to attend a higher percentage of the write-ins this year, only missing out on a couple of the afternoon write-ins and one of the write-crawls where I had short notice car troubles. But a lot of credit and kudos goes to Ness for all the hard work she puts into the month, and for encouraging me to be a bit more active as an ML. As of this point I’m not sure if I can dedicate myself as an ML again, but I would like to if at all possible. It all depends on my job search over the next year.
Finally, I can’t help but be proud of my own accomplishments as a NaNoWriMo participant this year. I didn’t write nearly as much as I did last year (230,677), nor did I get anywhere close to my 24-hour record (20,970 on November 1, 2016, as well as several 15,000 word days later that month). The most I wrote in a single day this year was slightly above 11,000. But at the same time, I wrote a much more even curve this year, with a consistent pace throughout the month, only winding down toward the end of the month. And the book I wrote last month was the final chapter in the vampire/werewolf series I began writing back in 2013 – a book I had been planning since before I started writing Blood Rage that January.
Even if I didn’t write nearly as much as I did last year, I finished two rough draft novels, one being a genre I’ve never finished a project in before (straight science fiction). It’s a story about an experimental cyborg from a since cancelled project. While dealing with his extreme PTSD which is starting to show itself from the loosened emotional dampening from his computer chip, he also discovers the project is illegally continuing. With the help of an idealistic cop (who is hopeless with technology), and his estranged hacker sister, he tries to stop the project.
The second is a book I might never try to get published, but it will definitely help me sort out the ancient history within my Blood Rage series. I also wrote a novel that I really enjoyed, starring a werewolf who eventually starts an annual werewolf swimming competition, combining several of my major interests into one big story. And I did quadruple win for the third time in a row, with more than 210,000 words this year. Today, I also reached a lifetime milestone. I am now an official member of the NaNoWriMo millionaire club with more than 1,000,000 words written during November for the last 5 years. That’s an average of more than 200,000 words per year that I’ve participated. I’m fine with that.
How did NaNoWriMo go for all of you? Feel free to comment on your own accomplishments. How many years have you been participating? Did you meet your goals? Did you reach any personal bests? Whether you won or not though, that’s not the important thing. The most important thing is that you wrote something. That alone is enough for you to call yourself a writer. I hope you enjoyed. I know that I did.