5 Things my first NaNoWriMo has taught me

I’m so glad it’s over.  I can’t believe I said that.  I was so excited and pumped for this on October 31st.  I can’t believe I committed to it and saw it through.  Well, sorta.  I did not reach the glorious 50,000 words goal, for which I am disappointed in myself.

But my philosophy is “if you can’t find the silver lining, draw one in”.  So, in the spirit of looking for the triumphs, I can say that NaNo taught me a few things about myself and I’d like to share them with you:

  1. Some stories are better left unwritten – I’ve had this story in my head since I moved out of the secured housing apartment building I lived in after I left my first husband 22 years ago.  He was a really abusive jerk, thus the “ex”.  Yes, it was semi-autobiographical.  The pushing down the stairs and being pulled back to the apartment by the hair?  Yeah, that was real.  I thought I had worked through all the shit that goes with being a victim of domestic abuse and violence.  I was writing to tell the stories of all the women in that safe house.  Ultimately, my main character would have been shot dead by her husband.  As I wrote, I relived.  I stopped writing.
  2. I’m actually a terrible writer! – When I reread what I wrote it was terrible!  I’m so sorry to have put you through that if you read it.  Ugh.  So juvenile.  So many voices of the narrator.  Hopefully, I will get better.  And I will keep trying – getting published is still a dream!
  3. I’m not as committed to writing as I thought! The first 10 days were bangers.  I got almost 18,000 words written in the first 10 days and that was taking 2 days off entirely.  When I stopped writing because it was too painful, I just stopped.  I didn’t start something new (and believe me, I have lots of ideas).  When it wasn’t easy – I gave up! (I’ve never done that before??!!!!)
  4. I should have dreamed of being an editor instead – Seriously.  I just couldn’t stop going back to edit.  I couldn’t let it “flow”…maybe that’s why it sucked so bad?  Hmm.
  5. Over-Commitment = Guaranteed Failure – Particularly since this was my first NaNo, I should never have also tried to to NaBlo!  Dumb, da dumb, dumb!  Of course I can’t do it all!!  I have a life, lol.  It has to take priority and I should have know that given the crap we have going on, this was a bad idea.

All that being said, I will also add this about NaBloPoMo:  I enjoyed THIS challenge immensely for a few reasons:

  1. I wrote at least 30 posts this month, excluding posts about my NaNovel.  This means that while I epically failed NaNo, I epically succeeded at NaBlo!!
  2. I wrote about things I had never thought about before but was inspired to investigate.  My series on GMO food production was fun to do even if it wasn’t overly popular in my stats.  I learned stuff AND I got to hone my essayist skills.
  3. I met incredible, new people through this experience!  This was by far the best reason to do it.  Meeting people is incredibly hard for me.  And I think I really like my new virtual pals. 🙂
  4. I became a better writer.  So, unlike my NaNovel, which sucked, my blog post writing got better!  My writing got tighter, cleaner and more readable.
  5. I will definitely do this again…just not while I’m also trying to do NaNoWriMo next year!!

Hope you had a great time writing your hearts out in November. It’s over now (for me, anyway, I’ve got tomorrow’s post already scheduled).



2 thoughts on “5 Things my first NaNoWriMo has taught me”

  1. Don’t put your writing down. You’ve just written your first book (well, nearly) and you should be congratulated for it. As Hemmingway said “the first draft of anything is shit.” It’s one of the reasons you shouldn’t go back and edit. The first draft is all about getting the story down. Occasionally you may write some cracking prose but mostly it’s functional, sometimes downright awful. I always use a sculpting analogy (I don’t know why, I can’t sculpt for toffee). The blank page is the block of stone. You decide to sculpt a figure so the first draft basically maps our where the limbs, torso and head are. The editing and re-write phase turns that basic shape into the refined ‘David’.
    Don’t give up on your dream. The only way of improving your writing is through writing and most authors agree that editing IS writing.

    1. Thanks, Dylan! 🙂 It’s a habit of mine to say everything I do sucks ( that’s a whole different hurdle to jump)

      I do intend to keep going – I won’t give up on the dream! …just on that one story.

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