NaNoWriMo: What I am learning

This is the final stretch of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).  I am at 40,387 words.

Most people probably will burn through a lot of words – either catching up on or going beyond their word count – during the long Thanksgiving weekend, but I plan to take a break. I will still write a bit each day but because I am ahead of schedule in words, I don’t want to take too much time away from my family during the holiday.

During this writing month, which is as much about experimentation as anything, I’ve learned a few things about (my) human nature and writing.

1) I know where my priorities are: I am motivated to get up at 6 a.m. to write but not to exercise.

2) I shouldn’t write for quality at 6 a.m.  Half the time I didn’t know what I was writing as I was still mostly asleep. Thankfully NaNoWriMo is about quantity, not quality.

3) It is easier to write consistently in small doses then save it all up for one big day (though I enjoy that too).  As Jerry Seinfeld says, “daily action yields greater benefits than sitting down and trying to knock out 1000 jokes in one day.”  (Thanks to my husband for sharing this article).

4) 50,000 words is a great start to a first draft of a novel but it’s by no means enough for me.  The last novel I wrote (which took 5 years to get to its present state) is 95,000 words and could use even more fleshing out.

So while I haven’t had many epiphanies during this month, I have accomplished one thing I never thought I could: getting out of bed at 6 a.m. five days in a row.  For me, that’s a bigger accomplishment than writing 1,677 words a day.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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