What I Learned from #NaNoWriMo

5:41 AM Tuesday, February 1, 2011

This is my "Better Late Then Never" NaNoWriMo Post.

What I learned from NaNoWriMo this year:

  1. Don't be afraid to start without an outline. I spent many months last year trying to outline my entire novel so I knew what I was going to do. Complete. Waste. Of. Time. I never got an outline done before NaNo started so I was forced to start without it. It was a good thing to. Many of the things I thought I would end up writing, never went into the book. As I wrote, the story took on a life of it's own and told me where it was going. Chapter after chapter, I became free to explore the world I had created and enjoy it as much or as little as I chose. It was liberating! Great way to keep it real.
  2. Be flexible. Like I mentioned above, things didn't happen in my storyline as I thought they would. That turned out to be a great thing. I changed many significant ideas making for a better story then I had hoped for. But more than just being flexible in my story, I learned to be more flexible with my writing time. I found time to write where/when I previously thought I couldn't. It's amazing how much you can accomplish in ten minutes!
  3. Word count matters...to an extent. Having a word count goal each day (or month, or week) can be a great motivator. It forces you to get your ideas down on paper and make progress. However, I think words for the sake of words, it not a great idea. Quite frankly, there were days I was writing crap just to reach that word count. Is that a good idea? I don't really know. I suppose it's what you do with all those word in the editing and revising process that follows.
  4. Write daily. Let me first say that I am a busy woman. I have 5 kids, a self-employed husband, and a part time job. Time is precious. Before attempting NaNoWriMo, I didn't write daily. Maybe I'd have a good week and get some things down. Maybe my keyboard would be silent for a few days. It was sporadic at best. I am far from perfect now, but at least I am closer to taking that time each day to write. Sometimes, I still can't get to the computer, but those days my thoughts are never far from my writing.
  5. Diet Coke/Coke Zero is my friend. Really... I should by stock!

25,155  words later, I'm better at this then I was before, but I have to admit, the thought of editing all those words is a bit daunting...


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