Friday, December 3, 2010

NaNoWriMo Learning Curve

With my first NaNoWriMo came a learning curve.

Yes, that's right I said it. I learned a lot from NaNoWriMo. Originally I thought I'd just sit on the sidelines and watch. Then I got the crazy idea to join in on the fun.

So, just what did I learn?

1) Discipline - One of the most difficult things for me as a stay-at-home-mom and writer is to actually sit my behind down and write. I have a 12 month old and he requests a HUGE amount of my attention at all times. Up until NaNoWriMo I had the horrible habit of saying, "I just didn't have time to write today." Not anymore! I learned that I just needed to get up a little earlier every morning before he wakes up and get in as much writing as possible. This is where my wonderful coffee comes into place. I love having it every morning while I sit and type away. Unless I have somewhere to be early, then I have time to drink coffee and write.

2) Outline - I have had the habit of obsessing over an outline in the past. I'm not sure where, but I read that you need an outline before you start writing. Uh - not me. I would obsess over getting my outline just right and then when I sat down to write I wouldn't like the outline and would obsess over altering it - Constantly. I have since learned that I don't need an outline. What I need is a general outline of where I want to end up and what points I want to hit. Then I let the characters have fun.

3) Editing - This was a bit difficult for me as I had major computer problems and had to have my hard drive reformatted. Luckily, I had all my work saved. BUT, I had to reinstall everything! My printer was a difficult thing to reinstall. I lost my installation disk. (I put it somewhere safe; it's now safe from me.) Downloading the correct software from the website was a bit daunting, so I put it off for a while. Finally, I got it all downloaded and installed. By then I was way behind on my editing. I should have written in the morning, printed my work, edited on the hard copy, and then made changes on the computer at night. This would have saved me a lot of trouble. I ended up spending most of the last part of the month editing. Way too much editing.

4) Goals - My goal was to either hit the 50,000 word count or finish a novel. I may not have hit the word count, but I did finish a novel. GOAL ACHIEVED!

5) NaNoWriMo 2011 - My husband found a great show that gave me a great idea. I have decided to do a bit of research over the next year and once again enter NaNoWriMo. This time I will be able to edit as I go and actually hit both goals - 50,000 words and a finished novel. That is barring any computer glitches!


  1. Don't go and jinx yourself! Congratulations on finishing the book, even if you didn't get to fifty K in a month. I honestly think my MS would have been better below the fifty and that I added quite a lot of filler, so it's kind of a half-win.

    And NaNo taught me a lot about discipline, too. Good luck next year!

  2. Thanks! I agree that hitting the 50k isn't always right depending on what you're writing. Given that I was writing a YA novel and they are usually between 40k and 60k when completely finished I think it was a good idea I didn't hit the 50k.

    Good luck to you too next year! :-)

  3. Congratulations on finishing that novel, Heather. You have a baby at home? Now that's a challenge that will only increase. I only wrote during nap times--I couldn't find time otherwise. So, best of luck and feel good about your NaNo participation.

  4. So great! Congratulations on finishing your novel, that's so exciting! Sounds like you learned a lot of awesome things. Thanks for sharing! :)


  5. Gale - Thanks, early mornings and nap times are the only time I get to do anything pertaining to writing or reading. I'm surprised at how much I got done in that small amount of time. :-) Nap time is mommy time.

    Kayla - Thanks. And just so you know it was your tweet that gave me the final "I'm doing Nano this year." :-) I really enjoyed participating and I'm glad I did. When I got your tweet asking if I was participating I thought to myself, "not this year." Thirty minutes later I had talked myself into it. lol