NanoWriMo, Writing journey

Lessons learnt from being a NaNoWriMo Winner

NaNo-2018-Winner-Badge.png

December is here and NaNoWriMo is over for another year. After succeeding in writing 50,000 words – yes I did it if did not already know – I thought I would reflect back on what I have learnt.

  • The main one is I can surpass my own expectations with the support of others and determination.
  • I can prove naysayers wrong.
  • I can not emphasise the importance of support from others. Having people behind you, believing in you when you do not believe in yourself gets you through the slumps and allows you to celebrate the highs. I can not thank those who have been with me enough, especially my daughter for the endless cups of tea and encouragement.
  • Accountability is an important factor. If I had not had Megg Geri checking in to see how I was doing, expecting 2000 words daily – not achieved often – I would have faltered in week two. Words would have fizzled out and  I would have given up. On days when only were written 200 words by lunchtime and I was tired, grumpy or dystonia was giving me a hard time, before I would have said “that will do”. Not wanting to disappoint Megg I would go back in the evening and write some more, sometimes surprising myself with the amount or content.
  • Rewards matter! Knowing I could buy a Kindle book if I completed 10,000 words spurred me on because I needed Justin Cronin’s The Passage trilogy. The reward of a coffee and catch up with a friend on a Friday if I survived the week gave me the boost I needed at times too. Thank you, Kris and Jennifer.
  • An excel spreadsheet was my best friend towards the end. Seeing my percentage progress on the screen helped me push through the last 10,000 words.
  • I discovered I am more of an evening writer than morning one. Ideas are better in the morning but bulk writing is an evening thing.
  •  Dialogue between characters when it comes to you must be captured and written down. Trying to think of dialogue in front of a blank screen is useless, for me it has to come organically from the players, usually when half asleep or doing something boring not related to writing.
  • Writing daily is a joy (except on  “I can’t do this” days) and routine matters.
  • It is amazing what gets done if people leave you alone to do it. My writing room became my haven. The writing room is also known as the spare box/junk room with a bureau squeezed in just in case I am seen as pretentious as in the J.K Rowling and Arron Banks row.
  • It is hard mentally. It pushes you to work beyond tiredness, life experiences and forces you to give priority to writing. As a mum and wife this was one of the hardest things. Putting myself first rather than others is not natural for me but they are old enough to look after themselves. I am in awe of people who can do it with a young family, work and other responsibilities.
  • I can get through the slumps to get to a better place.
  • It has pushed my health to its limit. I think I have got a way with it. I’m not in hospital which has happened before when I have pushed myself too far but I rattle more with more pills, have accumulated more consultants this last month and slept for seemingly days since Nano has finished. Is the pain payback worth it? Yes but I’m glad it is over. I could not keep the intensity up in the long run.
  • I need to get my head around dictating, my hands, well hand as I am a one handed sometimes one fingered typist, is painful and is on the verge of going on strike.
  • Knowing your characters well helps, but it is great when they throw surprises and unexpected ones turn up.
  • I love writing and need to continue. Having a few days off I miss it.
  • I can achieve when I believe.

Now I need to finish the draft so the joy of editing can begin.

Did you do NaNoWriMo?

What did you learn, I would love to know?

Happy writing.

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