NaNoWriMo 2017 – so how was it for you?

For the third year running, I tackled NaNoWriMo, making it a priority instead of an also-ran. For the third year running, I tackled it using Scrivener. For the third year running, I won!

Of a fashion …

I’d like to say I think I’ve cracked it, but it was still very, very hard work.

It was  still hard to make my own writing a priority, even though it was for a contracted book, when I have paid editing and proofreading work also on deadline. I think this surprised me the most, that even though I have a guaranteed income, my own writing work was still very, very easy to slide down the priority list.

During this time we had some personal upheaval that resulted in several round trips to places as far afield as Cheadle, Nottingham and York. I did take work with me, but with the dog in the back of the car fretting for a walk or wondering where his dad was (usually in meetings), it was difficult to concentrate.

We have both also been quite poorly with very bad colds. This knocked me out for a few days certainly.

And, of course, I had paid editing and proofreading jobs clamouring for attention the whole time.

So despite the fact that, once again, being dogmatic, at least trying to make it a priority, and using Scrivener still didn’t tie my leg to the leg of the chair, I’m quite pleased that I eventually finished the 2017 challenge with 50,008 words and – more importantly – the best part of a contracted non-fiction book that’s due in on 1 March 2018.

My contracted book is for 50,000 words, and it’s a heavily researched project. About halfway through the month, my writing took over my research, I ran out of things to write, and I started to panic that I wouldn’t finish NaNo and I wouldn’t have enough material for my book.

I do have several books on the subject and quite a few leaflets that I hadn’t even started to read yet, though. And when I did start to read it all, the research well was refilled. And by the end of the month, I may have achieved my initial 50,000 words, but I think I also have sufficient material now for a further 20,000 words at least.

This is good. It is always much better to have too much material and cut it down than to have too little material and pad it out. And hopefully it will make for a much tighter finished product. I won’t waste the cut material either, I’ll see if I can interest any magazines in articles on the topics covered – or maybe a short story or a serial.

At the end of NaNo, I entered in my 50,008 words and, as usual, NaNo asked me to upload the words to verify my figure … and it came up 49,993! Oh no! I checked it and checked it, and my Scrivener file and my Word file (exported to by Scrivener) both said 50,008 words. I was mortified …

… so I cheated and added a few quick brown foxes at the end to bring it over the 50,008 words again.

Sorry about that folks. If I’d had the time, I would have written another paragraph, just to be sure. But it was 5pm and we had another appointment at 6pm yesterday, then I had to take the poet to band practice at 7pm, do the weekly shopping, and pick him up again at 9pm. We got in at 9:30pm, put the shopping away, and collapsed in front of a recording of this week’s Peaky Blinders.

So, I am sorry, but yes I cheated. I hope you won’t hold it against me. 🙂

Congratulations to all of my fellow NaNoWriMoErs, regardless of whether or not you won – as I’ve said for the previous four or five years, it’s the taking part that counts and if you end up with more words at the end of the month than you started with at the beginning of the month, then it’s still a win.

How was it for you?