What I Learned This NaNoWriMo

    After I finished climbing the mountain that is NaNo, right after I hit the top, I turned around and looked at the path I took. The places I fell, where I rested, where I nearly ran up its side. I think reflection is important. How else will we recognise and celebrate how far we've come, the obstacles we've overcome?

    So today to reflect on my wild experience with National Novel Writing Month this November, here are five things I learned about myself and my writing process.





1) I Work Well With Deadlines

Having a daily as well as a monthly goal pushed me to go further than I have in a long time. The visual aid of stats made me itch to push the bar up, and make sure it always stayed above the minimum needed. My aim was always to finish a few days earlier, and I did! This is the first time I've finished early for NaNoWriMo, so I hope to be able to keep up the pattern next year.


2) Words Wars are Great

In my first few days, when I was able to war all afternoon, I pumped out a huge amount of words for me. Word wars kept me from becoming distracted, instead focusing my mind on the story and my keyboard, nothing else. Encouraging competition can be helpful!




3) Prioritise, Prioritise, Prioritise (Yes, I spelled that right, I promise)

Some days I felt as if the weight of studying, homework, research for school, life, blogging, and writing, would crush me. But I took a deep breath, and prioritised. If I was already ahead that day with writing, I let myself focus more on another area. Or if I had a more flexible schedule, I tried to write as much as I could.

If I hadn't, I probably would have drowned in stress. So yay for NaNo for helping me sharpen my prioritising skills!



4) I Love More than Two POVs

I had plans to only have two POVs in my novel, but my characters and my brain had other ideas for me. A couple chapters in, a new character demanded the spotlight. Then another. And now like in almost all of the stories I'm serious about writing, there are four POVs. 

There is something about a complex plot and showing different sides of a narrative that draws me in. As for why four? Perhaps it's my magic number.





5) Outlining Can Be Helpful

I wrote the heading with a slight wince, because I am a declared pantser (most of the time). But I actually, by some strange turn of events, plotted out my beginning scenes. I flew through them. It helped me knock out the first couple thousand words, and get ahead of my wordcount goal, something that helped me out on busier days.

BUT I've also found out a lot of character secrets and plot twists by not plotting out of the middle, even though being clueless of what will happen next has slowed me down. I suspect I'll be doing a mix of plotting and pantsing from now on.



What did you learn this month, either from NaNo, or from life and writing in general? Do you plot? Do you enjoy word wars or do you steer clear?
Good luck with your writing, and have a great day! <3

Comments

  1. I love word wars! I got hooked onto them in Camp this past July!

    You're so lucky to be able to work with deadlines! I still struggle with them....

    I'm a plantster, so I agree with you wholeheartedly with the outlining thing. It does help....sometimes.

    Loved the post, Melissa! Glad NaNo went well for you!!!

    Catherine
    catherinesrebellingmuse.blogspot.com

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    1. They're the best! :)

      I know--I feel quite lucky to be able to work to them. I find they really give me a sense of direction.

      Only sometimes. ;)

      Aw thanks! Thank you for commenting Catherine!

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  2. Word wars are legit the best! I’m always up for a war. And I work really well with deadlines too.

    Congrats on finishing and winning NaNo!!!

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    1. They are!!! :) Haha same. Oh I'm glad you're the same; we're lucky to work with them!

      Thank you! <3

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  3. "Outlining can be helpful." LOLOLOLOLOL *casually dies* YUP. YOU COULD SAY I LEARNED THAT ONE THIS YEAR. *crazed laugh*

    Ehem. I'm not crazy. What are you talking about. Ha. Ha. Ha.

    Ehem. I'm glad you learned muchly this nano and were able to stretch yourself! I did too, in a way. But it wasn't the best kind of stretching, and I'm happy to be going back to DW :)

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    1. INDEED YOU DID. *hauls you out of the grave*

      Of course not love. ;)

      Aww well at least you stretched and tried out a new method. I'm sure it taught you lots. :) Yay for DW!!!

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  4. I learned I write a lot faster on the computer, and I'm able to remain more focused than I thought. That doesn't mean I'm giving up paper writing, but I did enjoy writing a whole novel on my laptop.

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    1. I write much faster on the computer too! :) I'm glad you tried it out, and were able to learn from it. Thanks for commenting Rachel!

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  5. I need to start outlining and prioritizing, that's awesome that you work good with deadlines. I fall apart under pressure.

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    1. Aw I'm sorry you don't go well under pressure. I don't necessarily like it, but it pushes me to write. xD Thank you for commenting Skye! :)

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  6. Ah great things to have learned. I "know" them all yet I don't "know" them all, if you know what I mean :P like I know I should prioritise, but do I? Hahaha not really? XD

    Lisa
    www.thisinkwell.blogspot.com

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    1. Haha I do know what you mean. xD I hope you can truly "know" them sometime! Thanks for commenting! :)

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  7. Yaaaay!!! You beat NaNo!!!! *confetti* :D :D

    These are important lessons to learn, for sure. *nods* Though, I have never participated in a word war. They sound intimidating, tbh. xD

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    1. *dances in confetti* Yayyy thank you!

      Haha they are a little but you don't technically fight...just write. xD Thanks for commenting Lila!

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  8. Very cool that you beat out NaNo! Congrats!!! I was not so lucky, only hit about 20K. My first attempt and my seriousness towards it started to wane after a couple of days. That's a huge deal that outlining helped. I'm a pantser like you, and boy, I tried and failed at the outline thing too. LOL There's always next year.
    Congrats again!

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    1. Aw thank you Meka! :) Congrats on getting that far; it's a real achievement as well! Outlining is hard to get used to, and I only did a little bit. That was hard enough to do haha, though it helped. Thanks for commenting!

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  9. These are some great reflections! More than two POVs can be tricky but very rewarding! Congrats on winning NaNo early!

    storitorigrace.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks Victoria! It is, but I love a lot of POVs haha! :D

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  10. I learned, I think, that I can manage to push through difficult obstacles and reach the end. This year's NaNo was the most difficult year, but with the Lord's help, I somehow won. I'm super thankful for that. It sets me up nicely for December since I still have a bunch of goals that I'd like to accomplish before the end of the year.

    Congrats on finishing NaNo! Super awesome!

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    1. Congrats to you too on finishing! I'm so glad that with the Lord's help you were able to. :) Thank you, and best of luck with the rest of your goals! :D

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  11. I love this post! I think it's such a good habit to get into to take a second and reflect after you've taken on a big project, it really helps us learn and grow :) I learned that getting into the habit of writing every day definitely helped me win NaNo! It's been a few years since I've won, and this year I've been challenging myself to write as much as possible. I think having that practice throughout the year definitely made November a little bit easier.

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    1. Thank you! :) That's great that you're able to see your improvement! Congrats on winning NaNo, Rebeccah, and thank you for commenting!

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