NaNo ~ Conclusion

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Well, my dear readers, thank you for following me through this journey of NaNo.  Thanks for getting excited during my prep posts and cheering me on as I updated you throughout the month.  In this post, I’m just going to try to summarize what I learned.   I’m still learning things as I continue to think back on how it all went, but here’s what I’ve discovered so far.

Oh, and, yes, I did win it — by God’s help, truly — on November 26th.

1) Prepare.  This is my first year doing full-fledged NaNo, so I can’t really compare it to any other time, but let me just say that all my prep helped.  At the beginning of the month is usually when I have the most energy, and I’m so glad I didn’t have to waste it all by trying to figure out what to do.  In fact, I wrote specific outlines for the first four chapters, so I didn’t have to think about anything at the very beginning.  My character lists and notes about the setting were invaluable, and it was so nice to simply bring up my planning document when I had question, instead of having to invent something on the spot.

2) Be flexible.  On the other hand, don’t feel the need to stick to the outline completely.  My outline helped me get going and keep going, without wasting all my energy searching for ideas, but when a new idea popped up, I didn’t ignore it.  I think one of the worst things outlines can do is make your story forced, instead of letting stuff happen naturally.  A character died, and my main character got mixed up in a big political scheme, neither of which I planned, but now are integral parts of the plot.

3) Find a balance.  Part of me wants to say, “Push yourself!  Get ahead!” because I did that this month, and it was so helpful.  It gave me wiggle room, so I could take some days off if I needed to, and it taught me how to write when I don’t want to.  But another part of me wants to say, “Pace yourself, and don’t overwork yourself” because I did that as well.  Straining yourself too hard will hurt your story, not help it.  So I suppose this lesson is rather vague, because it’s up to you to figure out where that  balance is.  For me, I usually work better when I push myself — I can go pretty far before I get overworked.  However, that’s just me, and it might be different for you.  it also depends on the time of day, how rested I am, my mood, and a bunch of other stuff.  So experiment and figure out how much writing is just right.

4) Connect.  I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating: Perhaps the best part of NaNo is the fellowship.  Writing is so solitary, but this is one time where writers do it together, encouraging, inspiring, and motivating each other.  I know NaNo is special, and it can’t be exactly the same all year round, but I think we writers could try a little harder to be involved in each other’s writing lives.  The next time you chat with a writer friend, ask them how their story is going.  Bounce around ideas with them, challenge them to a word war, and do whatever you’d do if it was November.

5) Experiment.  I’m a morning person, guys.  I can’t stay awake past ten p.m., but I get up at six to do school.  However, my parents decreed that my main writing time had to be at night, when the rest of my family was off the computer.  I was nervous about that, but guess what?  It went great — or, at least, far better than expected.  Because I was tired, I was able to let go of my inner editor and perfectionism and let the story roll out on its own.  NaNo forced me to do things differently than I would ordinarily, and I ended up learning valuable things about me as a writer.

In the end, remember this: “How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live”  (Henry David Thoreau).  The best way to prepare for NaNo next year — and the best way to help your writing throughout any year — is to soak up life.  Experience, take risks, deepen relationships, seize opportunities, and sit quietly and give thanks for God’s blessings.

{And guys, my book list is up, so check it out!  I’d love to know if you’ve read any of the stuff I have, or if you want me to review something, or even if you notice a spelling mistake!}

 

 

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4 thoughts on “NaNo ~ Conclusion

  1. Very nice! I’d agree with what you said about not feeling like you need to stick to the exact outline. I planned everything out but even with that I ended up completely changing my ending!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. *screeches* I AM SO PROUD OF YOU! *huggles* *dances* *throws party*
    “my main character got mixed up in a big political scheme” that really makes me want to read your novel. I mean, it’s just so TENSE. *does little dance* I want to read it. Pweeease.
    And yes, I paced myself, and it helped so much. Although I can’t write in the evening. Amelia messes up my thoughts too much then and I can’t write anything coherent, so working in the morning before I start school is best for me. And it warms me up for the day, and also I can focus on my school rather than churning ideas continually and distracting myself. But I understand entirely why it’s best for you to work in the evening.
    I am so happy in a way that NaNo is over. Thousands of new novels have been written; isn’t that just an exciting thought?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. *huggles back* THANK YOU!! And the same goes for you!!
      *grins* I’ll think about it. =P
      Yes, to each his own. I think the key is finding out what works best for you, because it’s going to be different for everyone. I can totally see why writing early works for you.
      Ooh, that is a lovely thought, thanks for sharing it!

      Like

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