6 Things I’ve Learned About NaNoWriMo

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I’m half a week into my first NaNoWriMo and I’ve already learned a couple of things:

1. I can get more done in a day than I thought I could. Especially a working day, oddly, as I have to make that extra effort.

2. Writing without time to deliberate is very liberating. You can’t agonise over whether that sentence or subplot is a good idea because there’s a word count to meet, so in it goes.

3. I don’t like writing without editing. I have this sense of leaving a trail of poor description and hackneyed cliches, and it revolts me.

4. It doesn’t matter how fast you write – there’s always time to discover things. I thought I’d planned the hell out of this story. At the beginning of chapter 4, however, I’ve just come across a major new character I never suspected existed.

5. Doing this kind of speedwriting is a good way of testing an idea to destruction. What you have at the end will resemble the eventual book in the same way that a chestnut resembles a tree, but you’ll have a much clearer idea of what works and what doesn’t. I am doing something slightly ambitious with two protagonists. I now suspect that the book I end up with will only have one.

6. The community is an incredibly friendly bunch. There’s parties and write-ins all the time and you don’t need to know anyone to be welcomed, chatted to and generally made to feel a part of it. I had an hour-long conversation with a complete stranger about how the heroic journey, terrorism plots and the ramifications of superpowers. It was awesome.

So there you have it. I’m thoroughly enjoying the pressure to write, in a way I never thought I would, which is a very encouraging sign. If you’re also taking part, do buddy up with me on the NaNo website – as usual, I can be found under ‘everwalker’. See you on the other side!

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2 responses »

  1. Like you I’m finding the speed writing useful in testing me and my story, and I’m enjoying that. I’ve so far failed to make the most of the community side, even though it’s most of why I signed up – time just hasn’t been on my side.

  2. I totally agree with #2. Sometimes if I over think ideas, I end up not bothering with them at all. But if I just start running with it one of two things happen: Either it fizzles out, or it becomes something really cool. Nano is a really good place for it to be okay when ideas fizzle out. And once in a while, they don’t, and I’m SO glad that I just ran with the thought in the first place 🙂

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