What I've Learnt From NaNoWriMo

Okay. So flowers have nothing to do with writing or NaNo but I am obsessed with flowers and obsessed with writing and this photo is beautiful and I just had to use it. Okay.

So. NANOWRIMO IS OVER AND I CAN'T BELIEVE IT IS. When I stopped writing, the feeling was so strange; it's still strange...to think I won't be continuing my story.
(Although hello editing, I'll have to address you soon......)
Of course, I can still keep writing. Obviously I don't have to stop writing. But at the moment, it just feels strange that that particular story is "finished".

I hit 50,000 words (the NaNo goal) on the 27th of November. Immediately after, I went on a bit of a high (hugging the annoyed family, prancing round the house unable to get to sleep) and ate a whole bag of salt and vinegar chips that stung my lips and thus forced me to drink coffee. (It was late at night. Go figure.)
As I lay in bed, my mind was racing and I couldn't even bring myself to read and I was planning the next story and I was just so excited.
Then I must have fallen asleep. Eventually.

After that, I was determined to finish my story by the 30th (and stayed up till midnight to do so). I hit 59,000 words but, alas, my characters just would not die (Oops. Spoiler. Not really...)
So at 12:30 I went to bed, cried with relief and happiness, and finished my book in the morning. My total word count was 60,787 words.  

What I Learnt: 

It was hard work. Very hard work.  Some days went very badly and I just didn't feel like writing. I would get the my daily word count in, but my writing would look like trash.
I'm an organised, structured person, but even for me it took serious effort to persevere and write every single day. The Internet was a huge problem and it took a lot of restraint to resist Twitter and blogging and You Tube and Facebook. But once I'd closed them and started writing and didn't stop for at least a 100 words, it got easier. I actually wanted to keep going, then, and distractions were easier to ignore.

A lot times before (and with this particular NaNo novel) I've felt like I'm not worthy of the idea I've thought of. 
(Okay, I still kinda think that...)

BUT, writing this book has made me realise I can do it. Yes, it's a messy first draft (very messy) but I can get the words down, I can make the story work, and I can attempt it to the best of my ability. If it challenges me, good. If it's hard, good. If it stretches my vocabulary (which this novel did) GOOD.   
I want to learn more, I want to grow as a writer, and this novel made me realise that I have to write and get stuck in to get better. You have to try to have a chance at succeeding. Yeah, it sounds obvious, but this month it was really enforced for me. And now I can't wait to build on my other book ideas and try them out.     
I will be worthy of this hammer. *Pen.   

Planning and outlining HELPS. I adore making lists and character sketches and huge outlines that are basically incoherent, and I wrote out every scene I needed to include in my novel. I didn't stick to it completely, but it kept me on the right track and at least I knew where I was heading. Even if you're not a planner, knowing your main plot points really helps. I found this extremely helpful.
Planning beforehand makes a world of difference. I'm so glad I did.
Also, I told myself that to reach 50k by the end of the month I would have to get 1700 words down per day. Having that daily goal really helped me, too.

For me, it is. It was.
NaNo isn't for everyone - in fact, I didn't believe it was for me until I wrote my novel - but it was amazing practice and really helped me focus and just get the words out.
It's good practice, it gives you a time limit, and it gives you a certificate at the end. Whether or not you achieved 50k words, you wrote something. And you have a right to be proud.  

It's not about the 50k. Or the messy, imperfect plot. It's about getting the words out and keeping going. 
Well done writers.

Writers, what have you learned from NaNo this year?
 Any other comments you'd like to share?


  1. It's so good to hear you reached your goal.
    Although you finished your first draft, it doesn't mean you have to stop writing, just bc NaNoWriMo is over.You can still write.
    But I am so happy NaNo helped you to see that you can do it. ;)

    1. Yeah I know, but oops, maybe I should edit the post a bit.... lol ;)
      Thank you! <3

  2. AWESOME POST! ('cause I feel the same way after I finish a book too ;) )

    Wow, I think the biggest thing I learned from nano is to try and be easier on myself in the future. I'm a tough critic of myself and make strict (and usually unreasonable) deadlines. I learned last month that it's okay to let things slide sometimes. This probably isn't advice for EVERYONE, but for myself personally, I need to work on it. lol ;)

    And I also learned it's beneficiary to jump outside your genre and comfort zone as well. My nano novel was something totally out of ordinary for me!

    Contgrats on your novel so far, too!

    1. Thank you!

      That is SO true, thanks for sharing that. I'm totally the same.

      That's also true! And congrats on doing that!
      Thanks for commenting, and happy editing :)

  3. Wow - huge congratulations on finishing your novel! Such a wondrous feeling :) I totally would have celebrated with salt and vinegar chips too :) I admire your dedication. November was just not a good writing month for me... I actually wrote LESS than I would normally! Hopefully December will be a better month for me...

    1. Thank you! Haha yeah they were great ;)
      Oh no I'm SO sorry :( Really sorry, shame :( But I hope you have a lovely, relaxing, rewarding December! <3
      Thanks for commenting :)

  4. Congrats on 50k! That's so awesome! I wanted to participate this year but I just didn't have the time. I might try Camp NaNo instead :)

    Molly @ Molly's Book Nook

    1. Thank you!!
      Ah sorry about that :( But Camp NaNo is a great idea, good luck with that! Have a lovely weekend :)

  5. Congratulations! That's awesome... and those are good lessons too. I didn't do NaNo this year but pretty sure I will next time. So impressed and happy for everyone who finished (and even those who didn't- words are words, even if they didn't get to 50k). And lol about the salt & vinegar chips! Seems like a reasonable self- award. :)

    1. Thank you! And yay, that's something to look forward to :)
      Very true. Haha yeah, salt and vinegar chips are my weakness;)
      Thanks for the comment!

  6. Huge congrats on completing NaNo! That's amazing. =) Getting the words down and continuing to write is really important, and you did just that. *high fives*

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    1. Thank you so much, that means a lot :) <3 And thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  7. Yay! congrats on reaching the goal!