1. It is physically possible to write 1,667 words per day. Who knew?
2. By completing the novel before performing and rewrites, I actually minimize the amount of time I spend rewriting. I *mentally* rewrote the first several chapters of my book during NaNoWriMo; once I got to the end of the book, I knew exactly how my novel needed to start. So instead of rewriting the opening multiple times, hopefully I will only have to do it once.
3. Outlines are essential. Even though I ended up turning the first eleven chapters of my outline into entire novel, it was great to have a “road map.” And I have the rest of my outline ready for the next book.
4. Character sketches are essential. Having several character sketches completed before starting my novel really helped the overall writing. I felt like I already knew my characters going into the story, which made writing them fun and easy.
5. Strange things happen when you’re on a writing binge. I “met” two new villains and one new heroine.
6. It’s okay to write crappy sentences in a first draft. I’m an obsessive perfectionist when it comes to writing, and I have a tendency to labor over since sentences and paragraphs for prolonged amounts of time. With NaNo, I learned it’s okay to churn out crap sentences, so long as you get at the “meat” of what you’re trying to say. Word-smithing is for the rewriting phase.
I checked in with my writing buddies to see what they learned from NaNo.
Arlene Ang says, Writer's block is like a bottle of wine. Through NaNo, I learned to open it with a cheap corkscrew and pour the words out. Okay, so I may have butchered the cork and spilled more wine than necessary, but it's a start. I did it.
Erin Wilcox says, I learned that 50,000 words would really be possible if I chipped away at that goal every day. I spent the last few days prepping a story for submission, but over all I did a good job of sticking with my daily reading and writing. I feel good about the experience and plan to jump aboard next year, maybe with a little more preparation behind it. It would be nice if I could clear the decks in advance as much as possible.
I’m so grateful that I finally worked up the nerve to try my hand at NaNo. I learned a lot and can’t wait to do it again next year.
What did other writers out there learn from NaNo?