I took part in NaNoWriMo in November 2015, and it went really well. Thirty days of hard graft gave me a word count of 137,271. I'd have danced around the room in excitement if I hadn't been nursing my poor aching typing fingers.
But then December happened. Did I carry on writing? No, I bloody didn't. The thing is, NaNoWriMo is a great event but I think a lot of people feel pretty drained afterwards. I certainly did. However I reckon I'd have carried on if I'd still had some form of motivation.
Motivation to write - that's the real beauty of NaNoWriMo. If you're looking in the right places, the world seems to explode with positivity and joy. Writers are suddenly everywhere, galvanizing each other to keep writing, keep writing, keep writing... There are groups meeting all over the world, both in person and online. There are facebook pages and twitter feeds and a thousand other places to find encouragement.
In particular, there's the NaNoWriMo site with that wonderfully motivating graph! God I loved that graph. It seemed to drag me up the mountain by the throat.
And then suddenly it's December. The virtual cheerleaders disappear, and you find yourself just sitting there with your (probably awful) first draft of a novel. It's not surprising that quite a few NaNo manuscripts end up languishing in the darkest depths of a hard drive :-(
So I needed a new project. And here it is: A friend said he's going to write a million words in 2016, so I'm copying him! (Copying his idea, not his words.) It's a crazy task and maybe I'll fail horribly, but at the very least it'll get me writing. If all goes according to plan, I'll end the year having written at least 10 novels (i.e. 10 x 100,000 words). Admittedly they'll mostly be in first draft form, but that'll still be quite an awesome achievement.
To be fair to the NaNoWriMo organisers, they have lots of events to help with the "I wrote a novel! ...Now what?" question. That all happens in January and February, so fingers crossed it'll help me get my editing started.
In 2016, with any luck, I'll write, write, write all day long... and then spend my evenings editing my dodgy first draft from NaNoWriMo. Isn't that the sort of thing "proper" authors do? :-)
Progress Diary (the links will go live as 2016 ticks on)