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What I Learned From Winning NaNoWriMo

This November, I participated in my eighth National Novel Writing Month event. The goal of NaNoWriMo participants is to write a 50,000 word novel in a month, and 2014 was my first win…and came with sone very interesting lessons. Here are some of my favorites.

#1: Novels are hard.

You’re creating an entire world from scratch and you’re building everything about it. Some people outline first – they plan – and others do not. However you do it, though, novels are a lot of work.

#2: NaNoWriMo can eat your soul.

I was using homework to procrastinate NaNo, honestly. Plus, at one point, after a particularly great 10,000 word rally, I filled out a form as my main character because I forgot what I was doing. I had a great stress-induced crying meltdown around Day 18, and I spent most of November stress-yelling at people. (sorry guys!)

#3: You’ve got to get into a rhythm early on or you’re sunk.

It doesn’t matter what else is happening. If you want to finish, you’ve got to find a groove.

#4: It’s easy to fall behind…not so much to catch up.

You have to write 1,667 words a day, no matter what else is going on around you. And if you miss a day, you have to write 3,333 words a day the next day to catch up. 

#5: No editing. Embrace the gibberish.

For example, an actual, unedited excerpt of my winning novel, Camera Tricks:

“Porbabky,” said Francesca, “deoending on if Imor=gen decides to share more of her winc=e with ne.”\”

Just fix it in editing.

#6: Good writing, bad writing, whatever.

NaNo is not designed solely for winning. Even if you don’t hit 50K, or if you don’t like what you’ve written, you started a novel. YOU STARTED A NOVEL. GO YOU.

Bonus – #7: Winning isn’t everything…but it is pretty awesome. 

May all beings be happy and free and may my life in some way contribute to that happiness. I'm a New Hampshire native, and a journalism major at the University of Hartford in West Hartford, Connecticut. I write books sometimes. When I grow up, I want to be a reporter.
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