It’s time for a shift. NaNoWriMo is over, and the year is ending, which means some reflection is in order. Though I have to admit it’s hard to hear myself think in the mess left from November’s single-minded focus. The marked-up papers, old drafts, reference books, pens, highlighters, and sprint trackers have piled up. Other projects—such as making curtains and weaving in ends on a knitted piece—have been shoved to the side and covered over. The rest of life has been just plain neglected.

So the first project is to regroup. So far this has focused on handling issues in the “rest of life” category, and taking a breather from writing. I haven’t yet given myself one of my finishing rewards: to do one of the too-fun sudokus on the Cracking The Cryptic YouTube channel. Simon may solve most of these puzzles in under an hour, but it takes me at least two. I haven’t managed a big enough time slot.

Though I haven’t cashed in my sudoku time yet, I am celebrating. I’m happy to report that I met my NaNoWriMo goal of completing a full editing pass. It felt awesome to get through the whole manuscript, though doing NaNo this way was a little strange.

My goal wasn’t so much focused on word count, as it was focused on getting through the whole manuscript. To make it easier on myself, I counted the words I wrote and all the words I reviewed. So, when I finished editing a chapter, I counted all the words in the chapter, even if many of them had been written earlier. This meant that I quickly piled up words. I “won” NaNo on November 11th with 52,006 words.

But that was not a win to me. I was nowhere near the end. I knew my manuscript was around 107,000 words before I started. (I know—it’s too long. I’ll be working on that later.) I was hoping to cut that down a little, so I made a tentative goal of 105,000 words. Boy, was I off. When I got to the end of my manuscript on November 30th, I had logged almost 122,000 edited words.

Yikes! I sincerely hope my manuscript hasn’t ballooned to that. I don’t actually know…Oh, now I do. I didn’t know Scrivener displays a total word count when you select multiple files. Looks like I’m at almost 121,000 words. Oh, my. I have a lot of cutting to do.

Green line—50,000-word goal, Pink line—my original 105,000-word goal,
Violet bars—daily words edited, Blue mass—cumulative words edited.

I may have to add an editing pass for that. This first pass focused on a couple secondary character arcs, the magic system, fixing the ending, and rewriting the beginning. The next pass will focus on voice and chapter structure. I’m excited to get into this, as NaNo gifted me a magical revelation about my protagonist’s deep motivation that will enrich the voice. (If you want to know more about this magical revelation, see my blog post, Magic Moments While Revising.)

But before I dive back into writing, I have some cleaning up to do. I need some semblance of order in my studio. I need a plan for the holidays. I need to set aside time for planning next year. This is how December goes. I’m giving myself a break from writing goals for the month, but not from writing itself. Or rather, editing. I want to keep my mind in the book. So I will include writing time in my plans, and I’ll get done what I get done. It’s a nice relaxing way to write :o)

If you participated in NaNo, how did it go? Did you make progress? And if not, did you have a creatively fulfilling November?

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2 Responses

  1. Congratulations!! I imagine editing a whole novel is some great, time consuming, complicated undertaking! I guess so with multiple passes. All makes sense. Love your measured, structured approach and again, Can’t Wait for the Book!!

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