What is next after winning?
April is over, and I was able to complete my goal. Not only did I complete my goal of writing 30,000 words in April during the first session of Camp NaNoWriMo, but I also finished writing my novella. It still needs revision, and editing, but at least I was able to write the beginning, middle and end. For me this is a great accomplishment. I’ve written short stories, and poems. I tried to write a novel last year in November, but I didn’t reach my goal in finishing the story, though hopefully some day I will. So what’s next? Well, it didn’t help that I got sick recently. I have sent my novella to some of my friends so I could get some feedback about it. I’m sure it will help me figure out what I need to work on to improve the story. I am planning to participate in the second session of Camp NaNoWriMo in July. Now through June, I will have to figure out what I’ll do then. I’m leaning towards writing a sequel novella, but I might try to write short stories, or another novella. I’m not trying to rule out trying to write a novel, but I want to make sure I have an idea that I can write as a novel. I’ve realized that it’s important to have a story that will fit the size, otherwise you’ll work too hard on writing to write more than what the story holds. Or it might mean that you need more research to write more. Every time you write, you learn more about writing, just as much as reading. It’s the process of writing that we are able to improve.
While writing a novella in April, I figured out a few things. It felt more comfortable writing with familiar setting. I’ve heard that it’s better to write stories from where you live, than trying to write a setting from a popular location, especially if you might not know it well. This goes well with writing what you know. Sure, it’s good to learn to find out things that you didn’t know. Which adds more to your stories. That’s why it’s important to read, non-fiction as well as fiction, to improve in your writing. I decided to write my novella with the literary genres of Mystery, and Romance. Which are genres I love reading, and watching, so it’s familiar to me as well. Though I didn’t know the end of the story at first, I was able to create a basic outline of where the story was going before I started, as well as while writing the novella. It kept me focused on where I wanted to go, but it wasn’t too outlined so I was still open to other possibilities that the story could go. Close to the end of the month of April, I figured out a basic outline for the end of the novella which helped tremendously because it reassured me that I could get to the end. I believe having the writing goal be a novella size, that I knew I could do, gave me an reassurance that I could do it. I was able to write a bit over 30,000 words in November last year. So I knew I could write at least 30,000 words again in a month. Plus it helps when you have the motivation from Camp NaNoWriMo, and writing buddies. I’m so glad that I had such great support for my writing.
Thanks to NaNoWriMo, I’ve gotten a chance to explore writing in a completely new way. I’m sure it’s just a snapshot of how authors feel every day when they write. I’ve decided writing is about being determined to tell a story. Inspiration helps, but we have to work on trying to read, and write as much as possible. If we don’t, then our skill begin to fade away. Only by keeping up with our skills, and learning, do we progress forward. I know that these learning experiences will help me not only in my writing in the future, but also during Grad School (which I’ll start in September).
Life is about stories, and that’s how we remember most of life. Those who write stories have many reasons why they do so, but we all want to tell stories. As long as we keep on writing, we can keep on exploring the great things about life, and complete the circle. After you win, you can’t stop. You have to keep going, growing, and never stop.
P.S. I recommend checking out the blog of The Office of Letters and Light (who organizes NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo) for great writing and revising advice.