NANOWRIMO, 2021: The Final Stretch

good morning, cyberspace!

Well, friends, we made it! it’s officially December, and NaNoWriMo is behind us once and for all. In case you didn’t notice, I kind of disappeared halfway through the month, but this was less because I didn’t feel mentally capable of writing blog posts, and more the fact that every spare moment I had to write, I was working on my book.

Because by golly, my friends, I was determined to win this NaNoWriMo. Sometimes, however, things don’t go accordingly to plan. Like here. Or right here. Or… ya know, in 2020 when I also failed NaNoWriMo but was wise enough to not document the crippling disappointment. I feel like a constant theme in my life lately is God stabbing a stick of dynamite into my plans before whispering, “Wait. I have something even better planned.”

Except I’m still not sure what that ‘something better’ is, and–though I truly believe He’s right with my whole heart–it’s starting to feel a little bit like clickbait. XD

So when I started off on this NaNoWriMo 2021 journey, I wasn’t holding out that much hope. 15 revised chapters in 30 days certainly seemed like an achievable goal. It sounded easy. But not everything that sounds easy is easy, and nothing is truly quite how it seems.

Which is why I wanted to take this first post of December to recap on what, exactly, happened during those final two weeks of NaNoWriMo.

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NANOWRIMO, 2021: THE FINAL STRETCH

I wish I could dissect what, exactly, happened in each final week of NaNoWriMo so as to give you a better wrap up for the month, but as always, it all flew by with such speed that I honestly don’t know where to even begin. Thanksgiving happened (I wrote during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and it was honestly Very Nice), Black Friday was a chaotic mess at work and I absolutely adored every single second of it. And there was time spent with friends and Christmas Movie Watching with my family and so much laughter and fun and gift buying for the people I love… And all throughout, there was writing. Revising. Taking that first draft of something kinda bad and turning it into something not so bad.

But it was slow going, guys. Revising typically is, though I guess in some ways it’s a little faster than first drafting for me. But I got stuck inside my head around the 3-week mark, and it was then that I realized I probably wasn’t going to finish. My inner editor was back with a vengeance, and he was determined never to leave my side again. It was a downward spiral of creative suckiness, and I was stuck.

And then, as it most often does, inspiration came in the strangest and quietest of ways.

I can’t go into too much detail about what happened or how I found my rhythm again, because quite frankly it’s one of my happy thoughts, and once it’s out in the universe, it’s no longer mine to hold onto. But I will say that during the 3rd week of November, I was given an opportunity to take three whole days off for writing. Three whole days to pour my heart and soul into my heart and soul (something I was reminded that I needed to do every now and then). And it was–put simply–the best retreat I’ve had in a long while.

After those three days, I was hooked. My passion for the story was back. My excitement returned. And once more I had the motivation to keep pressing forward.

So I wrote. And I wrote. And I wrote.

And, my dearest peasants, it is my greatest honor to show you my final results from NaNoWrimo, 2021.

WORDS (RE)WRITTEN — 25,153
CHAPTERS COMPLETED — 15
CHAPTERS REMAINING — 0

If this doesn’t show you anything about the chaos of last month, I’m not sure what will. XD

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I WON, PEASANTS! I WON NANOWRIMO!!!! And I honestly could not be more grateful and proud! Yes, I didn’t accomplish everything that I wanted to accomplish last month, but I have half of my book revised and ready for betas, and I’m just so beyond excited by this! And also terrified. The nerves are intense. XD

But! Even though NaNo is over, I know there is still SO much work on this project that needs to be done before I feel wholeheartedly ready to share this book with my alpha and betas. Which means that my job is not yet over. There are still words to revise, chapters to rewrite, story arcs to polish… And I’m ready for it. I am so excited to see this manuscript keep growing, and even though the work is sure to leave my head throbbing at times, I know that with a little perseverance (and maybe a lot of Dr. Pepper), I can and will get through it!

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LESSONS LEARNED FROM NANOWRIMO, 2021

With all that said, I want to close this out with some lessons learned from NaNoWriMo, 2021. I tend to do these kinds of posts whenever I fail a NaNo, but this time, I want to do one for winning! Because whether or not you “won” or “lost” your NaNoWriMo goal, I feel there are many, many lessons to be learned once on the other side of it. November is an intense month for writers, guys. That in and of itself should be enough of a reason to celebrate, reflect, and–if you’re an obsessed hobgoblin like me–make a gameplan for next year. XD

So what did I learn this year? I’m so glad you asked:

  • writing is not just sitting at a laptop all day … I know this should probably have been a “well duh” sort of moment (in fact I’ve definitely read this advice MULTIPLE times while browsing the internet), but this month it actually clicked. So much of my writing this month actually happened away from the screen. Brainstorming, fleshing out characters, mental mind-mapping of chapters… And that’s not to mention all of the writing that happens from simply living. Inspiration comes in many forms, but I’ve found that my favorite sources are from stepping away from my little world of goblins and monsters to enjoy the small moments with my family and my friends. Taking time to simply be is the most beautiful sort of thing. I’m loving every second of it.
  • you don’t have to have the perfect balance … I can’t begin to tell you all how many times I’ve said–both in my daily life and on here–how I can’t wait to find that perfect balance between work and writing and life. How much better life will be once I figure out the secret formula for my most productive existence. But something I learned last month? Something I’ve BEEN learning this whole year? There is no secret formula, no perfect balance. Things come in waves and tides. Sometimes life is easy, sometimes it isn’t. But all throughout the craziness we can hold onto hope. Hope that it will get better. Hope that we’ll keep learning. Keep growing. Keep turning into the person God created us to be. And sometimes it’s messy, sometimes it’s chaotic, but that’s what makes life so wonderful. I’ve come to the conclusion that I will never find a perfect balance. But I can make the most of each moment I’m given, and at the end of the day, isn’t that enough?
  • it’s okay to be unsure … of your writing, of where you are in life, of what you’re going to do next. It’s okay to be unsure of things, because eventually you’re going to figure it out again. Trust the process. Trust God. He knows what He’s doing, my friend.

And those were my top three lessons learned from NanoWrimo, 2021! Or maybe just 2021 in general? I’ve learned a lot of lessons this year, I guess, so perhaps we’ll have another post come out later in the month that dives a little deeper into those topics. XD

As for now, I’m going to take a step back, read some Percy Jackson, and reflect on the fact that I actually did it. I (rebelliously) won a NaNoWriMo event after years of struggling.

Y’all, it feels so good to be back…

talk to me, peasants!

how did NaNoWriMo go for my fellow writers out there? did anyone else struggle during the middle of the month? what were some lessons that you learned from November? and most importantly…

what’s your favorite way to celebrate the end of a crazy hectic month?

As always, let’s talk about ALL OF THE THINGS down in the comments below! And until next time…

* flings cookies in the air and disappears *

8 thoughts on “NANOWRIMO, 2021: The Final Stretch

  1. AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH ALL THE CONGRATS OF EVER!!! *flings glitter and cookies with abandon* I’M SO PROUD OF YOU!!! And doing a REVISION project for NaNo, when things are going to naturally be slower because that’s just the nature of revising, tooooo! THIS IS SO SPECTACULAR, KENZIE. What a blessing things clicked for you again. I so love when those moments happen. <333

    And I love love LOVED the lessons you shared. Those are honestly things I NEEDED right now. Especially about it being okay to be unsure! Just– !!! I needed to hear that so bad! I'm in constant panic mode thinking I have to know everything RIGHT NOW. But you're right. Sometimes we just have to take it a day at a time and know God will lead us through the blind spots. Thank you SO much for that reminder! <333 I'm also constantly having to remember that simply LIVING is often the very most productive thing we can do and our lives don't need to be (nor should they!) spent in front of the laptop 24/7. Definitely, definitely something my workaholic self needs reminding of constantly!

    Thank you for sharing ALL of this! AND ANOTHER UBER MAJOR CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!! I do hope December proves to be a month of peace and recharging for you. Goodness knows you've earned it! <3

    Like

    • Eep! I’m honestly just so surprised, to be honest. XD I really wasn’t anticipating a victory, but I am so, SO unbelievably thankful that there was! This revision has been everything I needed for my writing, and I’m so excited to be the one getting to write this book! (and to someday SHARE IT WITH YOU, EEP!)

      UGH YES! I’m kinda glad I’m not the only one who’s been learning these lessons! Sometimes they are so hard to learn, but knowing I’m not alone makes it a little bit easier! And blind spots are never fun, but it’s so nice to have a God who can see right through them. We’re pretty lucky, honestly…

      MEEP! And congratulations to YOU, as well!!!! Your wordcounts at the end of NaNo are always mindboggling to me!! And your stories!!! Meep, I can’t wait to read them someday!!! And same to you! I hope this is a super restful month for you!

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  2. Kenzie!!!! Oh my goodness, congratulations!!!!!! You did it, you revised ALL THE CHAPTERS. And I am so weirdly proud of you even though…I’m not your mom or anything, so am I allowed to be proud of you? Well, I am, regardless. It is SUCH a feeling to complete the thing you wanted to complete even if (which always happens for me) there were 5 other side things I also kinda wanted to do that I didn’t…but I did the main thing and it is such a feeling. Reading this gave me the WARMEST glow of happiness. I cannot WAIT till this story is one day out in the world and I can read it (and also…if you ever need another beta…PICK ME PICK ME…but I definitely get only wanting to share one’s writing with certain specific people at the early stages so if I never get to read any of your novels till they’re published that’s fine too. I will preorder them though. With enthusiasm.), but also I’m just so glad you won NaNo!!!!

    Your lessons are, also, some I’ve been learning and so good to be reminded of. <3 I’ve also been revising, though I didn’t do NaNo! I got stuck in the middle of November, and I’m still stuck…currently gnawing like a ferocious termite at the creative roadblock in my way. I will get through it eventually. It will work out. I’m really pleased with my revisions thus far, so that’s good.

    Good luck finishing! Have a wonderful Christmas season!!

    Like

    • MEEP!!! Sarah, you have NO clue how much all of this means to me! Oh goodness, I totally understand letting about a billion other things fall to the wayside in place of writing. There’s so much that DIDN’T happen in November, but I’m just so excited about actually getting my chapters revised that I really don’t mind at all. XD (*she says, laughing awkwardly and scooting the angry uncompleted tasks under the carpet*)

      Also! I will ABSOLUTELY consider you as a beta! I’ve never done a broad expansion for my beta rounds, but with this book… I think I may do things a little bit differently–one of those things being getting it into more hands than I usually would, despite the terror of it all. XD I’m definitely going to be putting it through its Alpha round first, but after that, there may be a sign up sheet or something for people to get early beta access? We shall see! (but also, I shall keep you posted about this!)

      Dude! I’m so proud of you and your revisions, too!!! Getting stuck is the WORST, but I’m so proud of you for not stopping and continuing to work at it even when it’s tough. Goodness knows I’m struggling with something similar right now! (which may be why I’m procrastinating writing… Uh… Don’t tell anyone. XD)

      Meep! Thank you SO much! And I hope you’ve been having a marvelous Christmas, as well!! <333

      Liked by 1 person

  3. CONGRATS ON WINNING NANO! Kenzie, that is amazing! Excellent job!!! I’m so glad things klicked together at the end of November! That’s phenomenal. :)

    Ahhh your lessons are so GOOD! Especially the first one–that’s definitely something I’ve found, that when I’m hip-deep in a story, it’s not easy for me to figure out what needs to happen next, but when I step away…things click. And they click well. Thank you for articulating that so nicely! :)

    Like

    • Eeep! Thank you so so much!!! I’m honestly still in shock that it happened. Idk what’s going on, but I’m very happy about it. XD

      Oh my!!! Thank you!! I just love talking about the struggles and the lessons learned, because there are so many times where I wonder if other writers are struggling with the same things as I am? And it’s so good to know that what I’ve been going through resonates with others! I think this will definitely be a season of stepping away and figuring out where I want to go, and I’m SO excited for that….

      Like

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