My first NaNoWriMo

I did it! 50,239 words in 30 days. I officially "won" NaNoWriMo. I was on target the first week or so, then there were a few really hard days where I wrote less than 500 words. But with a few big pushes at the end, and a crazy last night where I wrote 3500 words in one sitting, it was done!

A few reasons I am happy I did it:

- I practiced focusing on one thing. Any fun idea I had for marketing or website stuff, had to be put aside until December. This was hard, but really helped me recognize what my priorities were, because...

- ...despite the focus, I was still able to do other things. Two podcast episodes went out, I reached out to people for guest blogs, and a few other planning/marketing things happened. Not as much as a normal month, but still more than I expected.

- I am that much closer to a finished book. This is for a joint project, so the deadline is not up to me alone. This needs to be ready to publish by March, so without the push to write now, I would have put it off until February and been a big ball of crazy trying to finish it.

A few reasons I am not happy I did it:

- No time to exercise. I did a bit of yoga the first few days, and I walked the 15 minutes to the library once or twice, but that was it. I know I should have made it more of a priority. I could feel my body getting angry with me. There was a day in the last week I went to the gym and wrote much less than I wanted to, and it was frustrating.

- Mentally exhausting. Of course it was the same month as all sorts of other crazy stuff at work and with family. Maybe doing a Camp NaNo in the spring or summer will be easier when there is no Thanksgiving to worry about and less deadlines for work. More sun might help, too. While you don't go out as much in the winter, so it makes sense to write more, less daylight just makes everyone grumpier and more tired.

- It put a little too much stress on my family. Again, maybe this would be better during a Camp when it's sunny and there are other options for a toddler and dad than running around the house while I'm trying to write. My husband was supportive, and understood I had to write and why, but it was hard on him, and us. Really hard some days, and those were the days that I only wrote 300 words.

All of this should sound familiar to those who have done it in the past! Nothing in my experience is groundbreaking or shocking. But it's kind of like childbirth: you can read all you want about it and think you know how it'll go for you, but you still have to do it yourself to find out.

Honestly, I am not sure if I will do it again next year. If I do, I think I really need to plot as much as possible before. I write fastest and best that way, and a lot of my stress was because of a lack of direction. I loved seeing where the story went on its own, but I just didn't have time to let things sit and simmer.

I know I can write fast. With 3 more projects planned for 2018, I could probably do all 115,000 words in less than 3 months. But I don't want to. Before NaNo, I might have tried. So that's one really big and helpful thing the experience helped me with.