November is over and so is NaNoWriMo – the month where people around the world scramble to write a 50,000 word novella in 30 days. So what are my thoughts now I’ve had 24 hours to reflect on the event, and sleep. A lot. 😉NaNoWriMo 2019 has been the most successful NaNo I’ve participated in. Here are the lessons I learnt.
Finishing isn’t a fluke.
I can cross the finish line again. And I did it twice. In 30 days. I feel more like a writer. Knowing that I have more stories fully told is an enormous confidence boost. They may be rough, they may need months of work but it feels totally different from having a dozen unfinished stories in your brain too scared you’ll mess them up if you don’t know exactly every beat of scene of every chapter. I now know I can weave that story into what I want. More or less. Even on the days when I had no clue I still came up with something.
Trust yourself, your brain will get you there.
Short stories are fun.
My first short story. It wasn’t planned in advance and I discovered that I like the structure of shorter pieces. Planning and executing feel far more achiveable and cosequently the hardest part of writing for me – the sitting down to actually do it – became easier. It’s utter rubbish but I got to the end and loved every second of writing it.
Spontaneity rocks, never be afraid to follow those ideas.
Quick Wins Matter.
Which brings me to my third lesson … It took me four days to get to the end of my first short story. Planning stage included. It was a massive boost to my writers confidence. I will definitely be writing more. Ideas are buzzing around in my head. I seriously loved it.
Celebrate the smaller goals on the way to the big ones.
I can write across genre.
It may not be brilliant but it’s a first draft, it’s not meant to be. And it’s unbelievably liberating to know I can write outside of historical. I have ideas and creativity ftw!
Believe in your own particular style of creativity.
Personal goals rock!
In past NaNos I’ve aimed for the full 50k. Even knowing I was writing a play and they rarely reach that length. Even knowing I wouldn’t reach the goal. And when I fell short I felt like a failure. This year I didn’t shoot for the 50k goal. I set myself a goal based on my the length of The Fall of the Virgin (which is around 14k) and pushed for 15,000. I hit that goal on the 21st and still had a huge amount of the story to tell. So I pushed my goal to 20k. And when I realised I’d finish before the 30th started planning how I’d spend the last days of the month. Should I try to write my first ever song? Or have a bash at some poetry? I knew I didn’t want to start another full length play and when the Rabbit Woman of Godalming popped into my head I followed it. The flexibility felt good.
Do what’s right for you! You can still participate, have fun and win even if you don’t hit the 50,000 words.The best results come from committing to writing.