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  • Kit Eyre

NaNoWriMo 2022: Tick That Box!

I decided to take a late leap into NaNoWriMo participation this year, settling on a project just a few days before kick-off and basically trying to stay one (or three) steps ahead the entire month.

Much to my surprise, I completed my 50,000 words on Sunday 27th November and went one step further, finishing the novel draft in its entirety on the same day. At 51,895, it's not a long draft, but my first attempts never are. It's a basis on which to build something.

This marks the first time I've "finished" NaNo since 2017, although I did finish the drafts I started in 2021 and 2020 around a month after the official completion date. Usually, something just gets in my way in November, but this year I think I was lucky - I had the rare chance to focus primarily on my novel and, heck, it felt good to be doing that.

The thing about NaNo is that it's primarily a competition against yourself. Sure, I have friends who participate and I keep an eye on how they're doing. However, it's about getting words on the page and getting something down. I like "winning" for that reason, with November just giving me the same focus as thousands of other writers to push a draft past 50,000 words.

Some people can't take "losing", and I've known writers to verify an old draft of something else just to say they hit their 50,000. You can see it in their daily stats when they jump from 17,000 up to 50,000 overnight. I'm open-minded but I honestly don't think they wrote 33,000 words in a day!

I don't understand that mentality of needing to lie to others about how your NaNo month went. I "failed" in 2021, 2020 and 2015, yet I still learned something from those attempts. The only person I'd really be deceiving if I said I'd hit 50,000 on those drafts when I hadn't is myself.

Ultimately, "winning" NaNo feels good but so does finishing any novel draft, whether it's a first draft of word vomit or the almost-final draft of my next release.

If you're a writer and you haven't quite hit the target this year or you weren't in the right headspace to participate, don't be discouraged. November might be the month the world and her pretty little kitty cats decide to write a novel, but December's a pretty good month too. As is January, February, March, April...

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