3 Lessons I Learned from NaNoWriMo


November is over! Here are the lessons I learned from NaNoWriMo.

November is the quickest month of the year. Yes, I know it’s just as long as many of the 12 months. Yet, with holidays and shorter days and trying to cram a writing session into any available minute, it ends as quickly as it began.

It’s my third year doing NaNoWriMo my way. So, what have I learned so far from (my version of) participating in National Novel Writing Month? Here are my three takeaway lessons I hope that you have learned too from your November writing experience.

Define Your Writing Project Early

Procrastinating on which story to write during National Novel Writing Month is a bad idea. Especially if you decide the project on Oct 31.

I’ve learned that the sooner I define which project deserves my November attention, the easier it is to define milestones and goals for the month. I put a reminder in my calendar on June 1 and August 1 to decide which story to write during NaNoWriMo. That way, I can complete necessary footwork in the summer and early autumn months to make that happen.

Set Reasonable Goals

It’s an incredible feeling of accomplishment to complete a goal that pushes me outside of my comfort zone. And it’s the complete opposite of incredible when I fail miserably at getting it done.

While it’s easy for me to get caught up in the euphoria of deciding my next writing goal, I’ve learned that I first need to peek at my calendar. Yes, I know the phrase: If you really value something, you’ll make time to do it.

Well, I really like to run. And I’ve had to push running out of my schedule this month to make time for some big commitments.

Once I know what I’m realistically capable of completing that week, I decide on how to best use my time. Sometimes it’s not the most exciting goal, but often it gets me set up to complete a more exciting ambition when the storm of my busy schedule subsides.

Doing NaNoWriMo My Way is the Best Way

I understand that the intent of National Novel Writing Month is to push myself outside of my slow-and-steady pace so that I crank out 50,000 words. In fact, I genuinely would like to do this not only to confirm that I can do it but also to have a complete draft of another story.

But why November? Why?

November is never a good month for me. It’s a month of holiday preparation, of career deadlines, of community events, of well-needed vacation time. November is the month where I try to squeeze in all my priorities.

That’s why I decided to make NaNoWriMo work for me. I dedicated the month to accomplishing my writing goals that I wouldn’t necessary have made the time for due to my blogging schedule. I focused the month on moving my writing career forward in a different – but still productive – way.

What did you learn this year from NaNoWriMo? Share you stories below.

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