I Won NaNoWriMo 2020!

For those that remember my previous post about NaNoWriMo 2020, you know that I participated in NaNoWriMo this year. It was also my first time participating (as Camp NaNoWriMo is different), so I had no expectations for winning. Well…I was wrong.

The NaNoWriMo 2020 Winner Banner.

I won NaNoWriMo this year!

I figured I’d share my experiences writing for NaNoWriMo, and also explain to those that don’t know about NaNoWriMo by now. So, here it goes:

1. What is NaNoWriMo?

I answered that in the previous post I made about this event, but NaNoWriMo is short for “National Novel Writing Month” where you try to write 50,000 words (the average length of a novel) in one month. There is an official website (and you can find my profile here!) where you can track your word count through each day of the month. If you hit 50,000 words before the end of the month, you win. What do you win? Discounts for writing software like Scrivener, for example, as well as other winner goodies. Also, bragging rights.

Camp NaNoWriMo is similar to NaNoWriMo where you have to write a specific word count during the month (but it can be customized to be time spent, or words edited, etc.), but you are allowed to customize your own word count. I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo and won by reaching the word counts I specifically set for myself (I’ve won three times).

2. Did you write an actual novel for NaNoWriMo?

Technically, no. Just because you write something that’s 50,000 words doesn’t mean that it has to be a novel. As far as I understand, NaNoWriMo expanded to include projects such as screenwriting and plays to count as projects for this event. It doesn’t have to be a novel; just the average length of one.

3. What did you write for NaNoWriMo, then?

A secret project that I hope to one day share with all of you, once it’s refined enough. I used NaNoWriMo to write its first draft, and I hope to finish writing the whole first draft by the end of this year.

4. What was the most fun part about participating in NaNoWriMo?

Probably writing everything down as fast as I could. I honestly had a lot of fun trying to surpass the average word count needed to win (1,667 words) every day.

5. What was the hardest part about participating in NaNoWriMo?

The exact same thing as I answered in number 4. It is not always easy churning out at least 1,600 words a day. Sometimes I felt the urge to do nothing, but I also knew that I wouldn’t reach my goal if I didn’t write at least those 1,600 words. 

6. How did you win NaNoWriMo?

Lots of writing. That was necessary more than ever. But it wasn’t just a matter of writing a lot, but also when I wrote.

Previously, for Camp NaNoWriMo, it was easy for me to just get all the daily writing done in one morning every day. However, given that I had 50,000 words to write and not 25,000 words, I knew that I needed to allocate more time to writing. This led to me writing at separate times during the morning, afternoon, and evening.

I often tried to make sure to hit the average word count per day when starting out (so about 1667 words if I’m not mistaken), but then I tried to go beyond the word count and/or write a full day of words ahead of schedule. This way, I would reduce the amount of words I needed to write in future days to reach the 50,000-word goal by the end of the month, and make it easier for me to accomplish by the end.

7. When did you win NaNoWriMo?

I won on November 24th, 2020, which is six days ahead of schedule!

8. What was the total word count of your NaNoWriMo project by the end of the month?

My total word count was, by the end of the month, was 52,136 words. 

9. Will you participate in NaNoWriMo (or Camp NaNoWriMo) next year?

Honestly, it’s too early to say. I do have multiple projects in the works, for instance, including several novels and now this secret project I wrote during NaNoWriMo. We’ll see what happens in time. If I do decide to participate in NaNoWriMo or Camp NaNoWriMo next year, I’ll definitely let you know!

I hope that by sharing this experience writing for NaNoWriMo, you might be inspired to participate in a future NaNoWriMo event. Did any of you participate in NaNoWriMo, or have participated before? What was the experience like? Feel free to let me know in the comments!


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