What I Learned After NaNoWriMo

It happened today. Today I crossed the 50,000 word mark and won NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).

What's funny though, is that I don't really feel like I won. I mean, I do . . . I hot the 50,000 word mark before November ended, and that is the goal. But I'm not even nearly finished with the book. As a matter of fact, I found myself wondering if a severe shift in tone isn't needed, and frankly, I think it does. Which means that in essence, I'm going to have to start over.

But I'll talk about all that in the next post. What I'm here today to do is just talk about what I've learned after a month of writing my cheeks off.

Well, first of all, and most important, I learned that I can do it. That's huge to me. I've been struggling with the concept of being a 'writer' for almost a decade now, and for the past few years I've always wanted to try NaNoWriMo, but I've never dared to go far enough to even sign up. I just felt each year that there was no possible way that I was going to be able to write a book in a month. No way. And at the time, I was right. But this year I felt different. This year I felt I had something to say. So, I signed up, and here we are in the winner's circle 30 days later.

I also learned that with what limited time I have available, trying to write 50,000 words in a month is just plain exhausting, and I don't think I'm going to do it again . . . until next November . . . possibly. I mean, I'm still going to write. But I may just shoot for 25,000 words a month, or 30,000. Something I could easily do, but won't kill me.

I learned that it's okay to get it all out there and worry about revisions later. I really struggled with that in the beginning. My plan was to write every day, and then post here on the blog what I'd written. Well, I found out early on that was taking what I'd written for the day, and then revising and editing it before posting it. In some cases that helped because I wound up adding more content. In other cases, it didn't help at all because I would worry away at one line, trying to find just the right way to say it, when instead I could have just been writing more.

So, as you can see here on the blog when the story just suddenly stops, I gave that up early on and let myself go.

Now that I'm done with the month, I feel like I should take some time off and rest, but I don't think I will. I may walk away from A Thousand Miles From Home (due for a title change once I change the tone of the book) and work on my revision for Goldilocks: A Fairy Tale Reboot. I really feel that what I need following a NaNoWriMo win is a complete book ready to self publish.

Wish me luck!


  1. I've said it once, and I will say it again. Congrats! This was my second year doing NaNo and, unlike you, I had no notion of trying to edit until I was done. What I did do though is I wrote the first chapter and the last chapter first, so I had a beginning and an end and just needed to work on the middle. I had never done this before, and the thought of finishing stories is daunting to me (still) so I finished it first and then got into the meat of the tale.
    This worked. So well in fact that my next week is going to be dedicated to writing the ending to my weekly episodic first draft.

    Now as for editing. I am taking a month off to let my brain rest and think on my story, I don't think there will be too many shifts, although I think I want to make the MC a little edgier/meaner and walk the thin line between the reader liking him and putting the book down a little better, but January will see me work on that. Last year, I got within 5k words of the end and realized my fantasy story was not about werewolves, but was about the Gods themselves and that I had a whole other character that was missing. i finished the tale as best I could and have not looked at it sense. Maybe I will do that soon...

  2. I really like the idea of writing the first chapter then the last chapter first.

    I'm going to try that with the next one I start.