The author blog of C. J. Ivory

Tinkerer with words. Dresser-Upper. Adorer of Steampunk and VictoriaNoir fiction. Occasional Lawgineer.

December 1, 2011

What Winning NaNo Means To Me

Another year, another NaNoWriMo challenge over. I crossed the finish line on November 30th with 50,320 words. **happy dance**
I am of the school of thought that anyone taking part in NaNo is a winner, because they either make a start on a novel, or brush up their writing skills, or start a good daily writing routine – or any of a hundred other benefits that NaNo brings.

However, I am still proud to say that I have reached 50,000 words every year that I have taken part (2009, 2010, and now 2011).

So, if taking part already means I’m a winner, what’s the point of crossing the 50k line? I'm glad you asked, Gentle Reader - it's a question I’ve been mulling over.

First, for me it’s rising to a personal challenge. I feel really satisfied to know that I set myself a goal, and achieved it. I’ve always thought that beating other people at things isn’t so great – at best, it means I’ve managed to find someone who is slightly worse at that particular thing. But beating my own challenges– that’s something special.

Then there’s the feeling of overcoming adversity. There is never a “good” month to write 50,000 words, but November seems to be especially bad. In 2009 for example, I got married, my cat died, and I handed in four 10,000-word Honours papers. I still managed to squeeze over the NaNo finish line. This year wasn’t quite as manic, but I was working full time as a lawyer and feeling like my eight-to-ten hour days were wringing every ounce of creativity out of me.

The final Big Deal is consistency. This is a trait I have struggled with over the years with everything, not just writing (eating healthy, exercise, keeping in touch with family and friend, practising various instruments – seriously, everything). So the knowledge that I have written more or less consistently over the month is fantastic. There were a couple of days where I couldn’t write, and those are the sort of pitfalls that would normally get me right off track. But I kept going, and clawed back my word count.

And now it’s over. And I have 50,000 words of a shiny new novel!

I'm interested: what writing goals do you have, and what does achieving them mean to you?


pdr lindsay said...

Congratulations for this year and for making it for three years, Charlotte. I've never tried as November is the heaviest work load month of the year. Spring: last of the 500 trees for this year being planted, hay making, silage baleage making, all the young poultry to protect and feed and mother on, lambs to finish, sheep to clip, veg to plant, tunnel house to plant, yet I know people do this and still do NaNo.

Truth to tell I hate being confined to a rigid 'you must write' for it freezes my brain and I sit there thinking 'what do I write?' confine my brain and it doesn't work. It's why I hate crosswords, for there's only one way to answer, or computers, which have only one way to work their programmes, a way devised by people who do not think like me and I loath trying to work their stupid way!

I think NANo is a great spur for many people but not for me!

Trisha said...

Congrats on your NaNo win Charlotte!! I've won most years but there have been three where I either failed, or didn't 'officially' participate.

As for my current writing goals...most of mine relate to editing. But I still have some Chrysalis stories to go this year!

Charlotte Jane Ivory said...

Hi PDR! Nice to see you again.
I think it's important to know how you function as a writer - NaNo isn't for everyone. And I wouldn't want to do it more then once a year :)

Charlotte Jane Ivory said...

Hey Trisha - I failed the Chrysalis Experiment this year, but I'm so impressed you've kept it up for the WHOLE year - along with all your blogging and writing. Are you ladies still planning on collating some of the short stories into a book? Details, please!

Ruth Cooke said...

Consistency was the big one for me this year. Like you, I've had difficulty being consistent at *anything*. It's only during the last two months that I've learned that I really can do important things (like write or wash the dishes) on a daily basis.

My plan is to continue writing daily until the book is done, then continue writing daily on another book. And so on for the rest of my writing life!

Write on, Charlotte!

Charlotte Jane Ivory said...

Nice to hear from you, Ruth. I'm interested: now that NaNo is over, will you be setting a daily word count goal for yourself? Does that help you, or does it have a stultifying effect, like PDR described above?