The evening of November 29, I officially hit my goal of 50,000 words and was one of many writers to beat NaNoWriMo.

The feeling of being let to the Congratulations page of NaNoWriMo was incredible. Honestly, I didn’t know how to react. The whole month I had been dreaming of the moment, but when it came, I didn’t know what I should do.

Since I added 50k to my current novel, I had already told every part of the story I currently needed to. I leaned back in my chair and thought, What now?

I guess editing is the first step, but I’m not going over that today. Instead I will be talking about two things: the experience during NaNoWriMo vs the experience after NaNoWriMo is complete.

part 1: during nanowrimo

A brief summary: NaNoWriMo encourages authors to write every day and push themselves to further progress on their novels at an intense pace. The process itself is challenging, but not difficult enough to make major changes to one’s life.

While I took part in this challenge (as I stated in a my previous post), I found that writing really doesn’t change much about my everyday life. I still hang out with friends, watch TV, and spend time on my other hobbies. What the challenge really does is force us to make small sacrifices for writing. For example, eating dinner a little bit earlier or rescheduling lessons.

I expected NaNoWriMo to be much more life-changing, but all it really did was teach me to appreciate writing every day. I actually began to look forward to my writing time. It was great to be able to wind down and write, even if I thought I wouldn’t enjoy today’s session. Overall I only had about five bad writing days during the month, which seems like decent odds.

NaNoWriMo was mostly frustrating at times when I had other things planned. During the last couple of weeks, an old friend of mine invited me over to her house for four days. She lives far away, and it had been a long time since I had last seen her. Of course I wanted to go! Don’t worry, I didn’t decline for the sake of writing. Some sacrifices I was definitely not willing to make for the sake of my word count. So I went there…maybe wrote about 100 words on my phone.

When I came back I knew I had a lot of catching up to do. Surprisingly, it was probably one of the best writing experiences throughout the entire month. Being behind my goal made me more eager to write than when I was ahead of schedule (I tend to procrastinate). The night I came back from the trip, I wrote over six-thousand words. It was an amazing writing session.

part 2: After NaNowrimo

A brief summary: The experience after NaNoWriMo is difficult to get used to. Taking a break from your novel is completely necessary. What better time than the holiday season? Yet you will find yourself feeling a tad bit empty inside.

The first few days after I won NaNoWriMo, I began to feel like a part of me was missing. My first draft was complete. I moved on to working on my other hobbies that I had been somewhat neglecting over November (guitar, website-developing), but I couldn’t get the thought out of my mind. My head was screaming, “Write! Write! Write!”

During NaNoWriMo I had become so accustomed to writing everyday that I wasn’t used to not writing anymore. Without my nightly routine, I feel like a whole part of my identity has been ripped away.

But I know that taking a break from my first draft for a while is the best decision to make. Hopefully when I get back to it, that part of me will be filled once again.

For now I will continue on with my life, my first draft somewhere lounging in my computer. NaNoWriMo has changed me. It’s changed the way I write. And it’s changed the way I live my life.

Please let me know if you can relate to anything in this journal in the comments below 🙂 And a HUGE congratulations to all of those who participated, especially if you reached your goals!

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Melissa Torrefranca

Hello writers of the world! I'm Melissa, the founder / designer of Teen Authors Journal. Although I create blog posts every Tuesday at 4 p.m. (Pacific Time), I have absolutely no clue what I'm doing! I'd love to learn more about all of you, so please don't hesitate to shoot me a message! 🙂

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  • I think the reason that it didn’t feel more life changing for you is that you already write a lot. Lot’s of people don’t. For lot’s of people this is the first time they ever sit down to write. For me I had written plenty before but never gave myself the freedom to write that many words a day without obsessing over the details that should have waited until an earlier draft. You’re just ahead of the game Melissa. 😉

    This year, my second NaNoWriMo, felt much the same as you described; not so much of a huge challenge and more of something to keep my accountable. (granted, I was only writing 30k)

    I felt the same way after NaNoWriMo last year, not writing felt way harder than catching up on my word counts did all of a sudden. I don’t know if I’ll feel the same way now because… I’m still writing. I honestly thought that adding 30k to my current novel would finish it off, but apparently not. I’m really close to the end though, and I don’t really want to stop now until I completely finish it.

    Anyway, interesting post. Thanks for sharing!

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