2009 Big Rock Goal #4 – NaNoWriMo 2009

This is the fourth in a series of 5 posts describing my Big Rock Goals (major milestones) for 2009.  Every year I try to set up some reasonable specific goals that I can devote my time and energy to.  Every year when I finish them, I feel proud and happy that I’ve really managed to accomplish something special.  Here is what I’m going to be working towards this year . . .

Read about my Big Rock Goal #1 – Boxing Cardio Challenge
Read about my Big Rock Goal #2 – New York City
Read about my Big Rock Goal #3 – German Lessons

I first did NaNoWriMo in 2007.  It was a moderate success.  I finished 50,000 words of a story that had been kicking around in my head for almost 7 years.  I made one new friend.  I realized that I had only thought out 1/10th of my story idea.  And, I ended up wanting to rewrite the whole story (it still sits untouched as a draft).

nano_08_winner_viking_120x238NaNoWriMo 2008 was a bigger success.  I finished 50,000 of a completely different story.  One that I had only been planning out and working on for a few months.  I made a lot of new friends.  I was asked to help organize NaNoWriMo for 2009.  I cemented the idea that I was a plotter.  I realized that I had only thought out about 3/10th’s of my story idea.  And, I’m working on completing it.

I’m hoping for even more for NaNoWriMo 2009!

Here’s what has lead to my increasing success over the 2 years that I’ve participated . . .

Get Involved!

There are forums at the NaNoWriMo site.  This year I also had the awesome community of writers on the Wiffer forums.  There are local events too.  I’ll definitely be participating even more in 2009 since I’ll be responsible for organizing in addition to just attending (I’ve already got a long list of ideas that’ll keep me working on it all year).  Also, get involved in telling everyone else in your life!  Making it clear that this is important and it’s going to eat an entire month (if not more) of your life.  That way they are prepared for you to get involved in something else for a while, and will hopefully help any way that they can.

Learn From your Mistakes

My first year, I knew I would get to my word total.  I’m just too stubborn to let myself fall on my face if I’ve publicly announced something like that.  But, I really had no idea where my story was going or any idea about the craft of writing (it hadn’t really occurred to me to read about the process of writing).  I made the assumption that because I’d had that story idea for a long time, it must be fully fleshed out and ready to go.  Wow, was I an idiot.  I think after day 2 I realized I was out of plot and I had to wing it from there.

My second year, I decided to try plotting the story out.  I knew I’d finish the 50,000 words because I had the year before and this year I was going in with a plan.  My mistake was underestimating the amount of time it takes to plan and basically running out of time before NaNo began.  But, the writing just flowed when I knew the key elements of each scene.  I also tend to forget some of the things that I struggle.  I end up spending a lot of time thinking when I could be writing, had I planned a bit in advance.  Character and place names in particular.  I also forget how many minor character and place names you actually need, especially when you are constructing your world from scratch.

At this stage in the game, I’m still just aiming to develop my writing skills and get closer to actually finishing a manuscript.  Then there will be the editing and revision skills.  Eventually, I’m sure you’ll see a goal pop up about submitting and getting published 😉

A lot of my goals tend to have slightly recurring themes: fitness, language, travel, writing . . .  Do you find you stick to certain themes when you plan out your goals?

My last post in the series will be about the goal that is relatively small and yet huge at the same time.

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1 Comment

  1. January 17, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    […] Read about my Big Rock Goal #1 – Boxing Cardio Challenge Read about my Big Rock Goal #2 – New York City Read about my Big Rock Goal #3 – German Lessons Read about my Big Rock Goal #4 – NaNoWriMo 2009 […]


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