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Translating Nanowrimo success into your daily writing life

Congratulations to everyone who completed NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month– where writers around the world commit to writing a 50,000-word novel during the month of November)!  This was the first year I completed NaNoWriMo. I started it last year, but gave up after falling behind in my first week.

The best part of the entire process was learning more about who I am as a writer.

Before NaNoWriMo, I suffered constant interruptions (both business and personal) that left me with many days, often leading into weeks, where no writing got done.  With NaNoWriMo on my calendar for the month of November, I cleared the decks and made announcements among my family and friends of my intentions. I pictured clear skies and smooth sailing for my journey. Nobody would interrupt me and nothing would get in my way.

Yes, sometimes, I can be so naïve. My sunny skies lasted 2.5 days. Besides the usual business interruptions, I had a few others things going last month:

  • I attended a four-day writing intensive in another city (I’m glad I did but, still, it was five days away including travel);
  • Thanksgiving day I came down with a horrendous head cold that I’m still getting over (two days of which I was too sick to even think straight much less try to write something);
  • My cat, Precious, died on Monday of the last week of the month and by this time, I was running a twenty-thousand-word deficit. Also, by this time, I was seriously considering buying stock in Kleenex.

Despite all this, I managed to finish. NaNoWriMo was a true gift because it showed me who I am as a writer. I learned that when I commit to something and give it my all, I accomplish it. I learned how to put my inner critic in the icebox for a month. And, most importantly, I learned I CAN write every day (even if only a few words) despite my busy schedule and hectic life.

I have a lot of work left on my story but now I have a new goal—to write 1,000 new words a day in December. This will allow me to keep writing my story but at a slower pace, leaving more time for brainstorming and plot development.

My goal is to take what I learned about myself in November and apply it to developing long-term writing habits.

What did you learn about yourself as a writer this last month? What habits or insights will you bring forward into your future writing life?

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Thanks to you I learned about this whole concept of NaNoWriMo. It is now on my bucket list for next year! I hope I won’t have as many external challenges waiting for me as you have had. Give yourself a huge pat on the back!

    December 3, 2012

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