Indeed… I won NaNo, and did it with… something like 5 days to spare. I’m still not entirely sure how I managed to pull up and get it done so early, but it was kind of nice not to be scrambling at the last minute to punch out the last 5k, as some of the people on my friends list did. Mind you, kudos to them for making it (the few that did), I just didn’t want to be ‘that person’ again this year.
I found that this year, working with an outline really made things a lot easier. I’d never thought of myself as an outline kind of writer, but I think this year’s NaNo really proved that if you’re fighting to bang out a lot of words in a very short time frame, an outline helps you stay on track AND push through any moments of writer’s block.
How? Well, staying on track is a given – you’ve got the outline there to work from and give you a general guideline. As for writer’s block, it means that in those moments where your muse packs up and decides to take a day off… or if you’re just too tired to continue with the scene you were working on… you can jump ahead to some other scene in the outline – something more exciting, or that you’ve been looking forward to for some time – and pick up there without being lost in the story threads or risking taking your whole plot off course.
NaNoWriMo Winner 2008
That said, outlines don’t have to be rigid & confining in the way I always thought they were… however, since I have a lot to say about outlines, I think I’ll wait and write something in the future on the pros and cons of outlining vs. ‘seat of your pants’ writing.
Really, what matters here is that I made it to the 50k goal. But even so, the story is far from done – I have plenty of areas where I didn’t finish scenes, where I jumped ahead in time (those were the ‘muse on vacation’ days), or where I wrote something twice from various angles to see which one worked better. I think the story is about half done, which means I have a long way to go before the finish line. That’s alright though – the free proof copy offer is good until June 2009, so I have time. I’m aiming for about 2 more months of writing on the first draft… but we’ll see.
And then? It’ll be time to finish the first draft from NaNo 2007. Ah yes, the work never ends…
More Winning Awesomeness!
Tags: NaNoWriMo, outlines