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“The writer must have a good imagination to begin with, but the imagination has to be muscular, which means it must be exercised in a disciplined way, day in and day out, by writing, failing, succeeding and revising.” — Stephen King

NaNoWriMo logoWe missed checking in on the last Friday of NaNoWriMo thanks to the holiday, so today, let’s take a moment to catch up and discuss how we did, and what we can do now.

This was not my most successful NaNo. I didn’t crest 50,000 words. I knew with about a week to go that I wasn’t going to hit it, and I decided I didn’t want to cheat my way to the winner’s circle. (Besides, I already got my Scrivner 50% off code last year, which is really the jewel of the prizes.) I made a huge international move a couple of months back and find myself still adjusting to the culture, the food, and the relative isolation, all of which I thought were going to be super conductive to NaNo and were not actually so. But in the spirit of my posts, I extended myself the same forgiveness I encouraged everyone else to do who was not going to “finish.” I had 36,000 words more than I began the month with. I had a much better grasp of several characters and introduced ones that I thought were going to be periphery and ended up having a big impact on the storyline. I’m pleased with what I’ve accomplished, even as I know that a lot of it will end up on the cutting room floor in revision. That’s the way it goes, right?

I’m interested in hearing where everyone else found themselves on December 1st.

Gif of man typing "every word he knows" onto a typewriter.

But now that NaNo is over, what do you do next? Hopefully you’re not so burned out by the project that you swear off writing all together — NaNo exhaustion is incredibly common, and I frequently succumb to it myself. If you found that the structure and accountability of NaNo was helpful to you, these are some other projects you might find interesting:

A Round of Words in 80 Days – @Brenda actually covered this for us back in January and on her recommendation, I signed up. It’s a self-directed program where you set your own goals, but you have to publicly account for your progress. The goals could be anything — write more in your blog, work on your fiction, finish your thesis. I used it to hold myself accountable to applying to a writing program last summer and found it great for that. I couldn’t do both, so I’ll get back to RW80 when the next round starts on the first Monday in January. You will need a blog or tumblr for this one.

750 Words – A much simpler goal than NaNo’s 1600 words a day, 750 words challenges you to do just that — write 750 words a day, every day, for a month. Each month is a fresh slate. All the writing is done on the site and then when you’ve hit the goal, the program checks off the daily box for you. Easy peasy. No other accountability than the sight of an unchecked box. Also, you can become a phoenix through the site’s progression stickers. So that’s nice, too. @Ailanthus-altissima gave it a shot in this post.

NaNoFiMo – While not officially associated with NaNoWriMo, National Novel Finishing Month is an offshoot started by fans. The goal of the program is to “finish” your first draft in December, as many people find that 50,000 words isn’t their whole novel.

NaNoWriMo Forums – Many of the NaNo writers keep hanging around on the forums once the program is done, giving each other support and encouragement. Several threads for accountability exist, and you can jump in to any of the groups and keep going.

Milwordy – Unfortunately, I can’t find a centralized start page for you, but the jist of this challenge is this: Write a million words in a year. That breaks down to about 83,334 words a month, which is… well, not really a goal I can even conceptualize. Unlike NaNo, you don’t have to focus on only one project and jumping around in your work seems to be encouraged. Many participants blog about their progress, much like in RW80. If you take this on, let us know.

Do you know of other groups, challenges, or projects along similar lines? Share them in the comments!