NaNo has grown rapidly since it began and this year nearly three billion words have been written by those who signed up on the website. I suspect that many more writers participated but did not sign up. The site provides much support and encouragement for those that do; forums, ideas, suggestions, and solutions are available if a writer gets stuck. Participants can also join local NaNo communities. For example, Vancouver's NaNo has nearly 5000 writers this year and Toronto nearly 8500. I also know of unregistered, small NaNo communities that were established locally.
I asked our writers how they managed, what they learned, and what they were going to do with their output:
- Two actually wrote a 40-50,000 word novel from scratch.
- One decided to flesh out a previously written manuscript and ran into severe time restraints. She didn't complete the process. Also commented that starting a new ms would have been a better decision.
- Two met their minimum words/day and often wrote more when they could.
- The writer with a young family had the most difficulty in finding time to write.
- There was no similarity in the time of day chosen to write; two even did some at work!!
- Two were delighted that they actually managed it; that a novel's first draft could be written in a month.
- Both were pleased to have developed the habit of daily writing and swear they'll continue.
- Our writers' group will continue to encourage them to maintain the habit.
- Plans are afoot to revise the two complete mss and to pitch them to commercial publishers when ready.
- All will be workshopping their chapters at the writers' group.
- If you participated in NaNo, how did you get on?
- What did you learn?
- What would you do differently?