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Doing and Winning NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in Germany

NaNoWriMo Participant Badge

When I decided to do National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) I was skeptical if I would get it done because of the move. I thought the plane ride would give me some time to work on it, but I didn’t take advantage of it. Many times I could have worked on it, I was out on post or out in Heidelberg, and I can’t regret that. I had “met” a few ladies online in this area who were meeting up but never managed to make it on any of the days they had picked.

More than halfway through the month I still only had 25k of the 50k word goal. It was starting to look hopeless especially since I felt bad hogging the computer too much at night and mostly turned it over to my husband in favor of hand writing, or more often stopping for the night. In the last few days, I started updating my husband on my word count and the deadline and he relinquished the computer long enough for me to write 8500 on the last day.

I spent most of the last day in a room at the Java Cafe on post working and taking breaks. During one break I found out about the acceptance of my story The Runaway in Five Stop Story, so that was pretty cool. By the time my husband got off work I had 3k words left to do. I could not and would not fail so close.

NaNoWriMo Winner's Badge

I went home for dinner. While my husband went to the commissary and cooked, I wrote and had about 1300 words left when he got done cooking dinner. He told me to finish and we’d go to the Village Grill (where I could validate from the WiFi at the Java Cafe next door). 100 words later I decided prompts might help me finish so we left. Of course I could not get a connection from inside the restaurant. So I winged it writing extra description I’d left out, putting in more dialogue, and so on until I managed to surpass the goal with 50080 words. I had won!

I went out into the lobby where I was able to pick up the WiFi, was able to submit the validation, and ordered my winner’s shirt. Winning NaNoWriMo is largely a self-satisfaction thing and something only the writer and anyone he or she tells knows about (and only the writer usually knows if it was done by the rules). Many don’t see the point and some writers even scoff at the idea of putting out a novel draft in a month. But that’s all it is–a draft. Lofty though the goal of 50k words in a month is, at the end of the last day it’s still just a draft. It will require revision and more revision.

My winner shirts from 2010 and 2011

Since most novels are at least 80k words I would have a lot more to write as well). It took nearly a year to go back to my first NaNo novel to revise it into a readable second draft for a select few people. It will probably take me a year or more to finish it, and I’m not even ready to think about the time I’d need to spend on this one. At the time I won, it was enough just to do that–to bask in the glow of having accomplished something. With the time and effort I put in, I created something, and I’m happy about that. Now I just need to hope the tech guy on post can recover the data on my USB so I can add revising (and hopefully finishing it) to my accomplishments.

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3 Thoughts on “Doing and Winning NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in Germany

  1. Pingback: National Novel Writing Month | Supernatural Suspense

  2. Congrats! I’ve been thinking about this for years. I don’t think I’m creative enough though. it would be interesting to read about how one would go about submitting something to get published 🙂

    • Thanks 🙂 You should try it. Even if you don’t make it all the way, it’s a start and there are forums where you can get writing prompts and inspiration to help you along the way. I haven’t had a full book published so won’t be able to write about that yet. As far as getting things like short stories and poems published, it’s a fairly simple process. Once the piece is where I want it to be I pick places to send it, send it according to each place’s guidelines, and log it on an Excel sheet I with titles of pieces, genres, places I submitted, and dates I got a response. Then I wait a few weeks or months depending on their turnaround time. If I’m lucky, somewhere accepts my work. If not, I log the rejection and look for another place. The actual task of finding places that might be a good fit is the most time consuming as it involves either reading samples online or reading back copies of the journal and editorial guidelines to see if my work might fit with the kinds of things they publish. I keep a note of the places I go most often to look for calls of submissions here: http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=183100345095617. Hope that helps 🙂

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