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Thursday, December 8, 2016

Lessons Learned from Nanowrimo

In the past, I've talked about preparing for Nanowrimo, and writing during Nanowrimo, but I don't know that I've ever discussed the lessons I've learned from Nanowrimo. I thought that would be a fun topic to discuss this month. Especially because I learned a lot of lessons this year.

As I've talked about before I love Nanowrimo. Its why November is my favorite month - that and pumpkin spice lattes. Yum Yum! Writing can be a lonely profession, which is what makes nano so special. Its the sense of community that I love, whether its online or through your local region, its the sense of all working together towards a shared goal that I love so much. Its only gotten better for me since moving. My new region is awesome.

And it is also the first lesson I've learned from Nanowrimo, writing in groups means better writing. Not just for enjoyment but for word count too. The days that I wrote with my local region, I had some of my best word counts of the month. This was due to a couple of factors. Meeting up with the group also forces you to set aside time to write, and not push it aside to too late or not at all. Also is it is hard to procrastinate with a group in Starbucks - not impossible, but hard. It just doesn't feel appropriate to start scrolling through facebook while everyone around you is writing away.

Part of the reason it is hard to procrastinate at these events is due to the word wars and sprints we like to do together. Which is lesson number two. Timing is everything. When writing under a short timed war force you to focus, and can lead to some great word counts. With only ten or twenty minutes to write as much as possible, it forces you to focus on your story and your characters, instead of any other distractions.

Nano this year was tough for me. I didn't get off to a good start. Part of it was because Nano started on a Tuesday, instead of a weekend day, but most of it was because I was trying to force myself to work on a project I wasn't feeling inspired by. Which is my next lesson, lean into inspiration. It took me a few days, but when I finally gave into the feeling, and the story that I really wanted to write, my word count skyrocketed. Once I gave in to the inspiration, instead of forcing myself to write the story I decided I should be writing, it all became so much easier.

My final lesson that I learned is that I could do much more than I think I can. I did manage to win Nanowrimo on the last day after a last minute sprint to the finish - due to family coming for the holiday - but I also realized I can write a lot more than I thought I could. For years I've tried to write more, I've tried to be more prolific, but its hard work. Its so easy to let the everyday stresses and distractions keep me from writing, from doing what I love. But when I have the right motivation - and follow the above lessons - I can do a lot more than I think.

Of all the lessons, the last one is the lesson I hope to take with me the most into the following months. With these newly learned lesson, and the right motivation, I can make any month Nanowrimo.

1 comment:

Tina Donahue said...

I've never tried one of these events. Sounds grueling. Congrats to everyone who lives through it. :)