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NaNoWriMo 2011: Wrapping Up

1 December, 2011

Well, November turned out to be something of a crazy month for me, but definitely in a good way. Every time I attempt NaNoWriMo – whether I succeed or fail – it teaches me something new. This year, the following really stood out:

  • If you want to be a writer, make sure you’re WRITING. 2011 has been something of a strange year for me. I’ve been working hard, but there have been a couple of projects that took up far more time than they should have done. As a result, my actual count of new words this year has been relatively low. NaNoWriMo was an excellent reminder that it’s the writing part that I love most, and I need to make time for it no matter what else I’m working on.
  • 1666 words a day isn’t that many. NaNoWriMo and its requisite daily word count isn’t the challenge for me that it once was, which tells me two things: 1) I probably don’t need to do NaNo again (although that doesn’t mean I won’t), and 2) I should be aiming for more than 1k words a day during every other month of the year. That’s a daunting thought, but it tells me just how much I’ve grown as a writer in the last few years.
  • Planning is (nearly) everything. Plotting vs. pantsing is one of those eternal debates in writing circles. I’ve always veered towards plotting, but NaNoWriMo has reminded me how important planning is for me. I would never have been able to produce so many words so quickly (I managed 2000 words in roughly an hour, some days) if I didn’t know in advance what I was going at write. At the same time though, I kept my plans fairly loose, which meant plenty of room for interesting developments as I was writing, without throwing the whole novel off course.
  • Taking breaks. I’ve written in the past about the importance of taking time off, and this month has really highlighted that for me. Writing every day for a month, I can handle, but consistently never getting a single day off? I’m not sure my brain could take the strain. I need time to do other things, or it’s my writing that suffers.

And on that note, I’m signing off. No more writing for me today – I have half a series of The Killing to watch and lots of Mass Effect to play!

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