What I Learned from NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) finishes on Wednesday. I participated for the first time this year along with my former teaching partner and a dozen students. We made goals and we tried to write every day and reach our goals. We met on Wednesday afternoons, and a few of us met on Saturday mornings at Panera to write. It looks like all but two of the fourteen who started will complete their goals.

I bet all of us learned different things about writing and about ourselves as writers this month, but I bet we learned many of the same things as well.

Here’s my list:

  • I can write 200 words a day every day no matter how busy the day is. It’s a small enough goal that it’s always possible. When I know I’m going to write 200 words, I keep my eye (and ear) out for inspiration.
  • 200 words add up. At 6000 words, I have discovered characters and problems and storylines. I have something to work with.
  • There are lots of blogs on the web that help when you’re stuck writing. The pep talks from different authors on the NaNoWriMo site were excellent. I really enjoyed reading Maureen Johnson’s blog. During the month of November she wrote a post answering questions about writing a novel so fast. They’re worth looking up!
  • It’s more fun to make goals with other people and check in on how everyone’s doing.

Congratulations to everyone who attempted NaNoWriMo!  No matter how far you got towards your goal, you’re amazing for trying.  I hope some of you will add more to my list.  Leave a comment!

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