NaNoWriMo 2015 - What I Learned

I think this is the second or third year I have attempted NaNoWriMo. I started off really strong, but things got a little crazy half way through the month (picked up a few fall photo sessions that were so fun, but took a lot of time to edit due to my slow and ghetto computer, going out of town for my cousin's lovely wedding - blog on that soon - and of course, Thanksgiving. But blah blah, so many excuses) So I only wrote just a bit over halfway through the required goal of 50,000 words, my ending word count being 28,144. While that's really not that much (and most novels are usually quite a lot more than 50,000 words) I am proud of how far I did get, being it's the farthest I have ever gotten in any of my attempts before.

What I learned is that;

I need a game plan

What has happened each year is that I forget NaNoWriMo is a thing until I see someone most about it a week or so before. Then I go oh yeah, I want to do that! But what do I write? I spend the week or few days I have trying to prepare but usually without much luck. I am one of those people who have to have an outline. I am totally lost without one.

Don't get behind

In order to meet the goal of 50,000 words in 30 days you need to write at least 1,667 words each day. And honestly, that wasn't hard at all. For the first week I was pretty good about hitting that word count every day, and it only took me about an hour and a half to hit it. Not bad at all. It really wasn't until I started getting behind that I really ran into a problem. The number I needed to catch up just grew and grew, and ended up squishing my hope and desire to keep going.

Write what you know

I read a few articles on the NaNoWriMo website on the day before go day to try to prep me. At that point I still wasn't entirely sure what to write about. But I read a few articles and a couple things really stood out to me. The first being to write what you know.

I have one story that I really am in love with and really want to bring to life. It is the story I tried writing last NaNoWriMo, and even have continued work on throughout this past year. But being that it is not a fantasy story and requires a lot of research to provide the best picture, the most authentic voice, and I'm just not there yet. So I decided to write something I knew. This helped so much and I think is really the only reason I was able to carry on as long as I did (and help me to know I can still keep going and actually finish this story).  

Just do it

And finally, just write. Just do it. One article, the guy talked about how he had always wanted to write. How he always wanted to be a published author. And after twenty years of talking and wishing, he finally sat down and actually did it. And it only took him two weeks to punch out his first novel. TWO WEEKS. If you have a story you want to write, stop talking about how you want to write it, and just write it.

Don't over complicate it. If you want to do it, make an outline, write every day, don't get behind, and just do it. Even if, like me, you don't even get close to finishing in the span of the month, you will feel proud of whatever work you did do.

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