Things I Learned From This Year's NaNoWriMo

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50738 words so far Winner!

The second 1,000 words a day are easier than the first 1,000. But you can't just skip to the second 1,000, no matter how hard you try.

Planning is also writing, it's just writing that doesn't add to your word count. Unfortunately, it's also necessary.

A book of fairy tales sounds like an excellent way to relax, but reading it during NaNo means that you risk absorbing the storytelling voice and discovering that you've now condensed a 2,000 word scene into one elegant 500-word paragraph that you can't unpack any further.

Anyone else learn anything interesting this NaNo? (Lessons not guaranteed to be universally applicable.)

50627 words so far Winner!

You can always add an adjective.
If the scene is boring and dragging, end it.
You don't have to write chapter 1 first. (Seriosuly, I just wrote it Tuesday)

I was always kind of scared by my mother's obsession with the 'good scissors.' It implied that somewhere in the house lurked... the evil scissors.

52005 words so far Winner!

Write every day, even if it's only a few hundred words. Otherwise, it becomes much too easy to go almost a week without writing, and then you're stuck playing catch-up.

Introduce a character that speaks very formally. She will greatly add to the word count with her lack of contractions. It helps if she takes a lot of words to say what others might in just a few.

Figment: Twist, the dive-bombing leopard gecko

50564 words so far Winner!

You can skip the inter-regional word war every now and then and no one seems to notice that we don't have one this year.

It's true what they say: you should avoid writing during NaNoWriMo that one book that you've been planning for decades. It will feel too important to take chances on and you will be blocked.

An old-style briefcase is very handy for carrying nanobots.

91896 words so far Winner!


I'd noticed we didn't have a Regional word war.

For me the graph chart and thinks like your 18k nanobot and Katherine's where do you want to be by Sunday very motivational.

I've a bad cold right now and things like this keep be going.



28000 words so far

I almost asked like, the first week who we were battling. I was disappointed, Tim. Very disappointed.

Or maybe happy. Because I wasn't going to be at the TGIO to have to sing a song.

56476 words so far Winner!

NewMexicoKid wrote:
It's true what they say: you should avoid writing during NaNoWriMo that one book that you've been planning for decades. It will feel too important to take chances on and you will be blocked.

Yeah, I learned this last year when I wrote Psion. I know the characters so well and could write endless conversations they might have, but in the end it was impossible to take the characters in new directions without being overly critical.

53266 words so far Winner!

It's a bit like practicing piano. Sometimes it takes the first hour or the first 1667 words just to get into the flow of the novel from day to day. Having more time to dedicate to a writing period seems to put me in a visualization groove and the words flow more easily.

54273 words so far Winner!

I wondered where that went, as well.

54273 words so far Winner!

I learned I'm not as terrible at time management as I thought.

Most importantly, I've learned that words are cheap and expendable. Scenes, even important ones, can be re-written, altered, or skipped entirely in the first draft; the words I put down now are, with an almost 90% gurantee, not going to be the ones I end up with. I often start stories, then hit a snag with the timing or the plot, and let them die because I didn't know how to solve the issue. I was too invested in the words themselves--in the time and the attention it took to write and arrange them--to prioritize the story. This year, I learned to let that go a little, and to just write the freakin' dog-dang story.

2104 words so far

That's it's really hard to motivate yourself to write after surgery. But I sure slept!

The good news is I can eat now! I'm not up to deep fried foods yet, but Thanksgiving was yummy! I'm looking forward to the potluck and trying to figure out some creative food to bring because I'll have time to cook (my last class of the semester is the thursday before).

151179 words so far Winner!

Shut up and write. Stop saying 'I should be writing' or 'I can't figure out what to do next and write.'

Writing on the basis of another story is actually much easier from a planning perspective because you have a framework to start from, until your novel goes off on its own direction around chapter four and you're left with the need to outline the same as everyone else.

Small, simple words never hurt anyone. Basic language in dialogue is acceptable even if it makes the novelist grit her teeth.

Write an ending before you get to the ending, otherwise you will be forced to search and move a plot, which at full bore is like a flooding river, towards a chosen end. If you have the outlet figured out, you can guide the story towards it.

201228 words so far Winner!

That it takes me longer to write 1000 words than it used to, so I really need to stop setting such difficult goals for myself.

That I really like scrivener and the ability to quickly add a thread to an earlier chapter.

That I get ridiculously competitive and I need to grow up already.

That I really enjoy doing NaNoWriMo and spending time with the wonderful people who are in our region, both in person and remotely.

50230 words so far Winner!

I learned many ways to just let the inner editor go out the window. That was my biggest problem. I would get so hung up on making sure the first draft was practically good enough to be my final draft that I got stuck and gave up.
Or all the times I got stuck getting from one scene to another and just gave up. Now I've started writing out-of-order and writing plot outlines inside the story, like a skeleton that slowly gets filled in. It's helped me so much!
I also figured that my overly descriptive ways are a good thing. Describing one suite of rooms took almost 1k. No kidding. Sure, it was grand and elegant and big, but one suite. 1k words. Beast. I'm trying to repeat that scenario with a palace. Not going too well for me, I'm too stuck in my battle scene-which I just ended for lack of new ideas.
Basically- Go with the flow. Hit a block? Go around it, over it, under it, backwards, forwards, doesn't matter. JUST WRITE. The rest will take care of itself. :D
I'm totally doing this next year and the year after and every year possible from here on out! I believe in my capability to write so much more now, and I thank everyone on this site for helping me accomplish this. I promise not to let you down by giving up in the last two days-that really is stupid, thinking about it. :D I can't stop now!

56476 words so far Winner!

Like Katherine, I've found that I really do love the people in this region. You guys are the best! I honestly think that if it weren't for the people in this region, I wouldn't have anywhere near the same drive to do NaNoWriMo as I do now.

I've learned that, looking at my wordcount update history, I can write 50,000 words in only fifteen days! Wow. Apparently I should write every day and just aim for 100,000 instead.

...except that I've also learned that about mid-November, I get flooded with purchases on my Etsy account! This is my first Christmas season with it and I wasn't sure what to expect, but it sure has been fun balancing out that and writing. But being busy there is a good thing. ;)

KatherineWriting wrote:That I get ridiculously competitive and I need to grow up already.

Getting rediculously competitive over fuzzball creatures and nanobots is half the fun of being at a write-in! ;P

91896 words so far Winner!

Wednesday and Thursday I took a quick trip to North Carolina to visit a friend whose wife has been seriously ill. I learned about NaNo that I don't need ideal circumstances to write. I took along my tablet and using the touch screen keyboard continued working on my story. The touch screen is small and awkward to use by hunt and peck method, but I did remain engaged with my story for the time on my flights. I also added over 1,700 words and am well on my way to moving my novel to the climax.

A funny thing happened as I was getting ready to deplane. The man by the window (I had the isle seat) asked, "So are you writing a novel?" (I had though all he did was play games on his tablet!) "I saw you typing on your tablet." I said that in matter of fact I was an gave a brief view of NaNo.

Then the girl standing in the aisle got all excited. "NaNoWriMo? I've got friends who are doing that!"

What a small world!


Remember: W R I T E E A R L Y; W R I T E O F T E N!!!!!

50257 words so far Winner!

I've learned that:
Unless the typos are really awful, let them be. Going back and correcting them takes away from increasing my word count. Especially when it's the final day and I am way behind.
When I'm having trouble with one scene, it's okay to leave it and move on to another one. I do not have to write the story in chronological order.
Adding speech tags is okay. They add to your word count and can always be removed later.
If you know what you want to write about in a scene but find you need to do more research to make it work, just write what you can and in brackets write notes to yourself about what you want to include in the scene. It may not be as many words as writing it all out complete, but it still adds to your word count.

Eternal Light
62671 words so far Winner!

That the key to writers block is to stop trying to thinkg about what to write, and just start writing. Even if you have no idea where to go with your story, or what to do, just keep typing and make stuff happen, and suddenly the story will come alive and start writing itself again. And that you may get stuck like this many times, at many different places, but the solution is always this simple.

Also that your draft doesn't have to be perfect. It can actually suck pretty bad. You are much more likely to write a great story by writing an awful draft and cleaning it up later, than by staring at the page never writing anything because you cant figure out how to get it perfect the first time.

Very interesting lessons. Thanks, Nano!

201228 words so far Winner!

Eternal Light wrote:
Also that your draft doesn't have to be perfect. It can actually suck pretty bad. You are much more likely to write a great story by writing an awful draft and cleaning it up later, than by staring at the page never writing anything because you cant figure out how to get it perfect the first time.

Yep. And writing it slower doesn't necessarily mean that you wrote it better. Some of my best scenes are ones that contain more typos or overuse a word because I was writing it fast. But once the scene is written, it can be improved later. (And sometimes rather easily.)

51644 words so far Winner!

I learned that running the spell checker once a week was sufficient to silence the inner editor. It was a non-time-consuming compromise. (I used to run it once a day.)

Tim, I did notice the lack of Regional Word War, but I didn't particularly miss it, so I didn't say anything. :)

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