November 30, 2009

6 1/2 Things I Learned from NaNoWriMo

1. Hard work is good medicine. Not writing, false starts and "wasted" days made me feel crazy. Working hard every day on this novel made me feel decidedly less crazy.

2. Know when to say "No" but also when to say "Yes." Writing should be your priority over watching TV, diddling around on Facebook and organizing your Chia pet collection. But family, friends and your health trump writing.

3. Don't beat yourself up over unproductive days. Your brain might be doing important behind-the-scenes work. My "unproductive" days were often followed by fat page counts.

4. Don't forge ahead blindly. NaNoWriMo suggests you keep writing and not go back over what you've already written. Not me. I needed to go back down my writing trail sometimes to make sure I hadn't diverged from the path I'd created. The important thing to remember is don't linger too long on those back pages; forge ahead!

5. You can accomplish pretty lofty goals one day (page) at a time. What's your lofty goal?

6. A person can write a salable novel in a month. There is a list of writers who sold their NaNoWriMo novels, including Sara Gruen who wrote Water for Elephants, which landed on the New York Times Bestseller list. I was determined not just to write a novel in a month, but to make it to that list of writers who sold their NaNoWriMo novels. Today, pages and a synopsis go to my agent. (Fingers crossed.)

6 1/2. Say thank you. NaNoWriMo came at the exact time I needed to sit down, shut up and write my next novel. What a valuable tool. I've sent them a donation. I also sent a donation to 826 Valencia because I love what they do to foster and encourage young writers. And to you, a huge THANK YOU because there were many times I sat and wrote only because I knew I'd have to blog about it afterward and be held accountable to you. My gratitude goes out to you for following along on this literary journey.

Now, for the last time, here are the numbers:

Today's word count: 0
Total word count: 52,746
Goal: 50,000 words
Days remaining: 0

Answer to Yesterday's Trivia Question: Penultimate means next to last.

Thanks, everyone!


Anna Staniszewski said...

Congrats on finishing! I crossed the finish line on Saturday night and it was a huge relief.

I absolutely agree with your points, especially #4. Some people can type away and not look back, but if I do that it becomes a big train wreck. But you're right that it's all about finding a balance so you don't spend all of November going back over the same few chapters. :-)

Wild About Words said...

Congrats, Anna! And thanks for visiting the blog. :)

Sophia Chang said...

So so true! Although I've sacrificed health many days in order to complete NaNoWriMo.

Read your Q&A on the NaNo blog - thank you for sharing! I'm inspired by you to keep forging ahead.

This is my third NaNo novel and I'm planning on using it to query agents.

Wild About Words said...

52 Faces, glad you're inspired and will submit queries to agents. And I'm impressed that you've finished 3 NaNoWriMos, but please take care of your health above all else.
Best wishes,