Lessons from NANOWRIMO

Last November I accepted the NANOWRIMO challenge to write 50,000 words in 30 days.  I had resisted doing this challenge for years, in spite of the nagging of several writing buddies.  I have no idea why.  That challenge was exactly what I needed to kick start my novel length writing.

Now, I’m looking at a completed fantasy novel and trying not to be too nervous about it going public soon.

Lesson 1:  50,000 words is not that long

When I started the challenge, I thought that there was simply no way I would be able to write that much in that short of a time.  Wrong!  These things are relative.  If you are used to writing shorter pieces, then 50,000 words is long.  However, once you have done so, it’s not.

Lesson 2: Write without editing

This was the biggest breakthrough for me.  I am a perfectionist.  A perfectionist’s perfectionist.  Type A to the nth power.  To leave a sentence, a paragraph, a chapter in a state of disrepair was one of the hardest things for me to push past.  However, because of the time constraint in the challenge, I had no time to edit.  It was all I could do to get the words down on paper.  As a result, some pretty crazy things happened.  Sure, I ended up rewriting most of it, but some of the spontaneous things that happened were worth it.

Lesson 3: Misery loves company

It’s true.  The support of the NANOWRIMO community was essential to the process.  I’m not sure if I could have done it without them.  The supportive emails that they sent out each week were surprisingly helpful.

Lesson 4:  Just do it

Even if you don’t finish, that’s ok.  There’s always next year.

If you’ve been considering taking the NANOWRIMO challenge, I hope you do.  I’ll see you there this November.


About josephinebrooks

Fiction author
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1 Response to Lessons from NANOWRIMO

  1. Christi says:

    Another excellent article, Jo. It really does rely a lot on the support of co-Wrimos and being able to break it down into “doable” bits of words. Awesome!

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