What I Learned from NaNoWriMo

It’s December! What? Crazy, eh? It’s already December, and that means that NaNoWriMo 2013 is over!

Although I sort of finished with NaNoWriMo a while ago, now that it’s officially over, I wanted to share my thoughts having finished my first year of participation.

So, here’s what I learned from NaNoWriMo:

  • It’s tons of fun! I just want to start with that…NaNoWriMo was a lot of fun. An excuse to constantly write, a conversation topic, a shared experience with so many other bloggers/writers…it was awesome.
  • I don’t have an issue with speed. I finished my 50,000 words on November 19th, and then I unofficially wrote over an additional 10,000 words while working at a much slower pace on a different project for the remainder of the month. I’ve always known I’m a fast writer, but it was fun to see just how quickly I could get those words out. I definitely felt accomplished when I hit that goal!
  • I do have an issue with writing-for-the-sake-of-writing. This is where my problem with NaNoWriMo came in. Turns out, I can get out words like mad if I need to. But that doesn’t mean I should! The story I wrote turned out so muddled that I couldn’t even end it logically, so I had to step away after completing my goal, and work on something else for a while. Partly this is because I only decided to write this particular story last minute, so a lot of the details were still fairly vague going in. But I also need to take that time to agonize over individual paragraphs every now and then, making sure things are right before moving on. Some of these things can be fixed in editing, but other frantic words lead the story on tangents that can’t be backtracked, and that’s where I got in trouble.
  • I like the concept of goals. I didn’t know if I would enjoy having such a definite deadline, and daily word count goals along with it. And though I’m sure there could be moods in which I would hate these things, I found, during this last month, that these goals were quite enjoyable. I loved watching my graph as I inputted my word counts, seeing both the big jumps and the steady increases as each day went by. It broke the process down into smaller chunks of responsibility, and that worked well for me.

So, those are my general thoughts on NaNoWriMo. Will I ever go back and finish the story I started? I’m not sure…I wrote this story just for fun, so it depends on if it sticks in my mind and my heart and lures me back into its folds some day. I’m not going to force myself to work on it, but I’ll definitely be keeping it around in case new inspiration strikes.

Will I participate in NaNoWriMo again? Probably not in a totally official way…if I have a story I am already working on/eager to begin around November, I will probably try to participate, but I won’t force myself to write something just for the sake of it, and I won’t force myself to muck up the story just to get the words out. This was a really fun experience for me, and I’m so happy I did it. Whether it happens again…who knows?

So what about you? For those that participated in NaNoWriMo, did you meet your goals? Finish your story? Will you work on editing it during the month of December?

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