(NaNoWriMo reflection post, that is.)
NaNoWriMo has been over for a grand total of two days now. I meant to post something about it yesterday, but well, I got caught up in reading a paper about diabetic rat testicles and before you knew it was time to go to bed because JV had an early day today.
I won NaNoWriMo this year, as I mentioned in passing a few days ago. Out of all the years I've attempted it (I think it's six, now?) this was by far my most successful. I managed to blaze past the 50k finish line very early on, like by November 9th, though I kept that under my hat because I'm not one for bragging (...much!). As I mentioned earlier, my total NaNo word count ended up at around 74,000 words. The entire manuscript (including the bits I wrote before December) is around 86,000. A good length for a novel.
I was, among other things, a minion this year, too. Theoretically it was my job to help the MLs at events, which I thought might be stressful but in reality turned out to be no less stressful than attending the event as a regular WriMo. I guess because NaNo is something so self-directed ("Okay guys, show up and....write!") it's pretty easy to manage an event once it gets started.
The one event I did basically coorganize (with the help of another minion) was the Halloween Head Start Night/Head Start Day double header. The plan was to have a meeting/unofficial write-in at a cafe on Halloween night and, at midnight, start a mad dash of words until closing time (2 AM), then have another write-in on the afternoon of November 1st. (It's really convenient when NaNo starts on a weekend!) That was the most stress I had during NaNo, mostly because we hadn't done anything like it before and the cafe where we meet that's usually empty at 1 pm on a weekday was packed to the gills on a Friday night. Apparently people in Stockholm would rather fika on a weekend than go out and get hammered, who knew?
The next day was no less stressful as I had no idea that one of our attendees (and newcomer to the group/event) uses a wheelchair, and the cafe we chose is not wheelchair-accessible. I felt like an ass on many levels for that one. You want everyone to feel welcome and thought of when you run an event like this, and I don't know that the group has ever faced that particular challenge before. (Let me assure you: much of Stockholm is very much not designed for wheelchairs.)
Otherwise the events went really well. They were both well-attended and while we were waiting for midnight (in costume!), everyone managed to fill the panic jar with lots and lots of great ideas, one-liners, plot twists, etc. that saw a lot of use in the Stockholm regional forum's panic jar thread.
(The panic jar being a jar full of quotes and scraps and plot twists and etc. that you can turn to in your hour of need/writer's block. It is a popular tool for NaNo and I highly recommend making one for yourself/your region/your writer's circle/etc. For the Stockholm region, it resides with resident overacheiving minion, Jo.)
Now I know, however, and we can better prepare for next year! I would like to make the Halloween Head Start Night a proper overnight/all-day event. There are loads of Scout cabins you can rent in and around Stockholm (including one in the park behind my apartment building), which is what we already do for the Night That Shall Not Be Named. I'd like to find cafes and meeting spaces that are designed with wheelchairs in mind, or are at least relatively accessible. And, if possible, I'd like to win next year just as handily as I won this year. ;)
NaNo last year for me was more of a social stretch than a writing exercise. I didn't really have much of an idea, aside from a one-off D&D character I thought might have fun adventures. The writing was a slog and I barely made it over the finish line. I went to The Night That Shall Not Be Named and most of the write-ins tentatively, trying to feel out long-standing friendships and fellow newbies and where I could cozy myself in. Now I feel like I'm going out to meet friends.
That's quite the leap from first-timer to minion, I think!
I'm pretty sure on what I'm going to work on next year, and I fully intend on being a minion again.