Saturday, October 13, 2012

What I Learned from Last Year's NaNoWriMo

Pyte was my project for last year's NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, in which participants try to write 50,000 words of a novel in 30 days). It was quite an experience. Here's what I learned:

  1. 50,000 words in 30 days, or 1,667 words a day, sounds like a lot but isn't. It's really not very hard to produce that much first-draft fiction, on topic and following the plot plan, every day for a month.
  2. The advice I see all over the place: 'Just write! Do your editing later,' isn't for everyone. I 'just wrote' for 30 days nearly a year ago (NaNoWriMo happens for the month of November every year.), and managed to turn out a manuscript that looks suspiciously like an elephant-sized knot of badly-tangled string. I've only recently screwed up the courage to start fixing it. This year I'm going to edit as I go along. I'm sure my wordcount graph will look like the Dow, but I think the idea is to actually produce something readable.
  3. In Pyte, Piper Provencher is rescued after
    nearly dying from exposure in a black-rock
    desert. Photo:
  4. You get to meet fabulous people. I frequent other social sites for writers, and mostly I meet people who fancy themselves writers but aren't. Maybe there's just a bigger pool of members to choose from, but NaNoWriMo has been a great place to connect with people who understand me as a writer and help me out with great feedback and advice. 
Have you ever participated in NaNoWriMo? What was your experience like?


  1. I've participated once, but didn't finish. This year, I'm going to finish, there's no other option. I'm already finding a great support network and making friends, which is great.

    I think I'm going to edit and then write each day. That way, I can refresh my mind, fix problems and move on.

    I'd be interested in knowing what forums you enjoy. I have two that I visit, one feels social and the other feels almost too professional for my tastes.

  2. I'm with you, Heather: edit and then write each day. As for forums, I honestly haven't found any to compare with NaNoWriMo, but of course that's pretty much seasonal. If you come up with something, let me know. They must be out there. I'm MaryJeddoreBlakney on NaNoWriMo, if you want to connect with me there.