NaNoWriMo 2016: Postmortem

It’s been just over two months since NaNoWriMo 2016 ended. It’s been ten months since I first started thinking about maybe trying my hand at it. It’s been exactly a week since I typed “the end” on the story I started back in November.

It feels like a good time to look back and think about how the whole thing went.

I’ll start with some backstory. (If you’ve been reading the blog for a while, you might know some of this already.) I used to write. A lot. At least 2000 words a day, four days a week, without fail. I did NaNoWriMo a few times, years ago… until I realized that it wasn’t really a challenge anymore, and that starting a new project in November would mean putting any current projects on hold for a month. I considered myself a writer before anything else.

The problem is, I’ve got a perfectionist streak, especially when it comes to writing.

Snapshot #65 | 10 Things for 4 December 2016

I really did mean to get this post up on time.

::ahem::

The past two weeks, I’ve been: catching | realizing | dealing | easing | hoping | trying | cracking | thinking | making | forgetting

Sketchbook #16

Ok, so: July and August were kind of terrible, creatively. I’ve acknowledged that and moved past it. It happens occasionally – both due to my own issues, and things beyond my control – and I just have to deal with it.

I went into September with modest goals: I wanted to get back on track, and dig myself out of the rut that I’d been in all summer. I wanted to see if I could find ways to motivate myself, rather than relying on inspiration to just happen. I wanted to work on clearing my weekly photo backlog, and see if I could make some progress on the NaNoWriMo outline, but I didn’t set any specific targets – any movement would be good, as long as it was forward.

So how’d I do?

Sketchbook #14

I think I’m starting to get back into the swing of things.

If you remember, June… well, it wasn’t the best month for me, creatively. I’ve been feeling a bit adrift, and frustrated, and I made up my mind to try to take things slowly in July while I figured things out. (Or, while I tried to figure things out.)

And, generally, that’s what I’ve done.

Sketchbook #13

[FYI: This is kind of long. Feel free to skip it if you’re not interested in reading my stream-of-consciousness artistic angst.]

Ugh. This month.

I mean… it’s not as bad as I probably make it sound. I’ve made real progress in figuring out what’s going on in my NaNoWriMo story: I know who my main character is, and who the antagonist is, and I sorted out the big worldbuilding issue I was having. I’ve started to figure out how the backstory I’ve been thinking about fits into the main story, and I know (generally) what’s driving the plot.

I’ve also been (slowly) building my daily writing practice back into something that I’m happy with, and that will put me on track to be able to hit the word counts I’ll need to make it through NaNoWriMo.

So far, so good.

But.

Snapshot #52 | 10 Things for 5 June 2016

The last two weeks have been… kind of good, actually. I’ve been: editing | catching | resisting | trying | going | feeling | starting | wondering | getting | thinking

Sketchbook #12

It’s been a really good month, creatively. I’ve been slowly starting to build up my writing practice again (just on web copy this month, which… isn’t great, but it’s made me find the time to write, and get back into the habit of, you know, typing for extended periods of time), I’ve been working on specific skills in my drawing, and the weather is finally starting to get to a point where I want to go outdoors and take pictures. So that’s nice.

That’s the general. Now on to the specifics.

Sketchbook #6

I’ve realized that I have to stop relying so much on routines. Right now, I just can’t sustain them, and trying to is holding me back.

This time for sure.

I almost should have expected it: no sooner did I say that things were finally starting to get back to normal, and I was ready to get back into regular posting, I was knocked off my feet for nearly a week by a cold.