It’s over. NaNoWriMo 2022 is over as of midnight tonight. The 50,000-word sprint is over, and I didn’t complete it. More importantly, I don’t care. The goal this year, at least for me, was to test writing a series of separate articles as opposed to a larger single text. This project was a success because I compiled a ton of content, and ended up with a better sense of how I should organize my time to complete even more articles. That’s a win, even if I don’t get a virtual badge proclaiming my victory. However, I’ll explain in a bit more detail why despite my “loss”, I’m celebrating a victory.
The experiment I had wanted to run was to create content for Pulp Culture Museum equalling a total of 50,000 words. Rather than write a story this year, I opted to write non-fiction articles. I treated the different topics I wrote about as individual chapters in a larger body of work destined for this site. I’d schedule the posts for whenever, but the content needed to be at least drafted during the month of November.
What was the result? Well, I didn’t hit the 50,000-word threshold for NaNoWriMo. I wasn’t sure I would have anyway. Most of the articles I write are planned to be around 500 words. I’d have to write three or four a day to have made the experiment work for NaNoWriMo. The other part of it was realizing how much more time I spent on prep than I thought I did when writing. This is also a key difference for writing non-fiction, and this was what I learned the most from during the experiment.
NaNoWriMo has resulted in some interesting writing slang. I’m thinking here of the writer profiles of “plotter” or “pantser”. I’m probably a bit of both, but I definitely spent time planning this year’s NaNoWriMo out prior to beginning. This meant taking time to hash out article topics on a variety of subjects and plotting out some story outlines in advance. Since my articles are often so short, this didn’t result in a ton of writing because that would have been cheating. What I understood after the fact was that I spent more time (much, much more) looking for primary source material. During longer writing projects, I knew this was the case, but for the short articles I wanted to prepare, I was a bit taken aback at how much time I spent reading through other articles. I think maybe I took this for granted. Even a one or pages of material can require a fair amount of time for the sake of searching out details to support my ideas.
Will I try NaNoWriMo next year? Maybe. The last time I tried writing an entire book in a single month I didn’t enjoy it. I found myself forced into stressing about word counts rather than enjoying the process of creating a story. This year, however, I had a great time. Instead of fussing over quotas and thresholds, I found myself plotting out content that I was interested in committing time to as quickly as possible. I was motivated to write, even though I knew early on I wouldn’t hit the 50,000-word objective. This year, I was neither tortoise nor hare, but something else entirely. I enjoyed myself much more than I have during previous forays into the annual affair that is NaNoWriMo. I’ll probably give it a try again next year, but since I enjoyed how I set things up for 2022, I may scrap fiction altogether to generate articles for the site once more.