How I won NaNoWriMo 2008

Last NaNo, I stayed focused the entire time.

The complete opposite of what I’m doing now. It’s like I’ve gotten amnesia. So, in an attempt to alleviate this condition and recover my memories, I decided to go back and think of what exactly I did in order to write those 85,000 words.

How I Won NaNoWriMo 2008:

  • The Snap

On the 9th of November 2008, I was behind by 12,000 words. I was angry at myself cause I had spent that entire year engulfed in self-help, motivational and productivity books and programs and STILL I wasn’t getting results.

So I just snapped. I got fed up.

I spent nearly 30 minutes convincing myself mentally that if I don’t write this book, I will never write a book, and I will never achieve my dreams. I was using what I learned from Tony Robbins’ technique of associating pain to not doing what I needed to do, and then I followed it up by imagining how great it would feel to finish!

Afterwards, I was so motivated that I vowed to write the entire 12,000 words I needed that night… Of course it was early the next day by the time I finished, but the victory did wonders to my self-confidence and motivation.

  • The Goal and The Reward

Something happened the next night that I personally don’t believe was a coincidence.
I checked my e-mail and found a advertisement for the Writer’s Digest first ever Editor’s Intensive Event. It was set in December and included a 30 min interview with a WD editor who has read the first 50 pages of your manuscript.

I didn’t have the money for the trip, but I didn’t believe in coincidences.

I jumped at the opportunity. I had enough to register, so I paid for it that moment so I wouldn’t lose my seat. BUT, I strictly told myself that I couldn’t go and lose my money (they didn’t give refunds) if I didn’t finish my novel by November 31.

Then I sat down and figured out what I needed to do in order to finish the novel. I did some research and saw that the max word count for fantasy was 120,000. So I calculated what I needed to do to make that goal. In the end, I decided on 3,000 words a day and a 85,000 word goal. Now to actually do it…

  • The Daily Routine

The idea of failing my goal and losing my money and not being able to visit the USA (which I love, so much) was appalling. So I made a routine and stuck to it.

I was up at 4am every morning. I did Morning Pages for an hour, then write from 5am-8am. I had class at 8am-10am and again at 10am-12pm. After class, I quickly finished whatever words was left from my 3k mark. Then I did my homework. Then I practice basketball (I was on the team). In order to wake up so early and not be a zombie, I went to bed every night around 9-10pm.

This was my ritual, every day I did the same thing. If I somehow failed to meet my words, I’d make it up that night or the next. That month I also spent a lot of time with a new friend (now my best friend) and slept over a few times. In fact, I wrote my final words at her house. She was very supportive and thought I was really cool writing a book and all. More motivation! And I had thought I was a geek…

  • The Sacrifice

I sacrificed a lot that month. I sacrificed sleep and entertainment. But I also sacrificed something bigger for my dream to be a writer. Like I said earlier, I couldn’t afford the plane ticket and hotel reservations in order to go to the event. I didn’t have a job and doubted I could get one in less than a month.

I had to get money fast before the ticket prices shot up.

I was/am into a lot of artsy things. One of earlier dreams was to become a musician. I even took a semester as a music major for the violin and piano. At the time, I was very serious and bought a piano and a violin, both of which were very expensive. So I made a decision. I decided to give up my dream of being a musician and focus on my dream of being a published author, like a proof of my devotion, and sold both instruments.

It was a pretty close call and I barely had enough, but I did it.

And on Novemember 29, 2009 at 4:15 am, for the very first time, I finished the rough draft of a novel.

(I had wanted to win a day early just to be safe.)

That’s how I did it.

Looking back, it seems to come all down to motivation. The Reason. What I lose by not doing it. What I gain when I do. When this clear and embedded in my mind, everything becomes easier cause I’m not fighting against myself. My mind and body is working with me cause it doesn’t want the pain of not doing it.

Interesting. Looks like I found my answer ^_^.

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