Every year I blog about something I learned during NaNo. Sadly, I didn't really learn anything ground breaking about how to improve my writing process this year.
Hopefully with each word I write my skill continues to improve, but writing-wise, NaNo went rather predictably. Sitting down everyday gets the work done. Not getting on the computer leads to a slump, which, if I can just force my butt in the chair, I can get over after a few hundred words. I knew all of that before November started (though that doesn't mean I didn't have to remind myself of it.) I probably could have worked faster, but over all, I'm happy with what I accomplished.
So what was the big gain? What did I walk away from NaNo with this year? You know, besides having half a manuscript finished in a month...
Well, I learned a lot about balancing responsibilities. I might have bit off a little more than I could chew this year, and everything wound up culminating in November. But, I made it through the month sane without anything getting lost. (At least...I hope I didn't neglect anything.)
"That's just great, Kalayna," you might be saying. "But what else?"
I'm glad you asked. This NaNo season, a 'core' group, if you will, of Wrimos emerged from the bunch. When I sent out my regional emails, they hit 158 email boxes, but there were only about 20 or so active Wrimos that posted to the forums and/or made an appearance at events. Out of those, 5 or 6 wrimos made regular efforts to show up at write-ins and other events and were very active on the board. These were the Wrimos, that, when asked, were serious about writing. The ones who wanted to see their writing make it one day. Go figure, they all won. (From my observations, active Wrimos finish NaNo more often then those that don't post to the boards or show up at events.)
As we saw each other at event after event, we started talking about what happens after NaNo, and slowly, the idea to form a writing group evolved. We sort of tried this last year, but it was a vague plan at best, involving a message board off the NaNo site and an open invitation. It also quickly died from lack of interest and interaction. Not to mention with an open invitation, and being internet based, no one really wanted to post writing to be critiqued.
This year, we are trying something different. We are learning from our mistakes and from what worked during NaNo. Seeing each other face to face pushes people and keeps them involved, and keeping the group small and tight-knit will hopefully encourage sharing. I imagine this new writing group will have its share of growing pains if it is going to survive, and we are not completely sure what all will be involved, but we are working on it. We already have a critique set up for our first 'meeting' and we are planning a mini writing challenge for January. I hope the group turns into a fun and useful tool for all its members, and I look forward to seeing if we can make it work.
So what did I get out of this NaNo? Quite possibly, I gained a local writing group. ^_^
In other news, I spent the first week of December playing catch up on the things that could be put off in November, so my writing got a little side-tracked, but I'm back to writing now. I hope to have this draft finished by the end of the month so I will be ready to start something new for the writing challenge in January.
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