NaNoWriMo Home Stretch: Three Lessons Learned

We're heading into the last week of National Novel Writing Month and I'm about 10,000 words away from my 50,000 word goal. And you know what? I've been amazed by how easy I have been able to fit NaNoWriMo into my life, despite having children at home all day and wanting to have time to work out and and read and watch Grey's Anatomy. I've had such a positive experience with NaNoWriMo, that I'm planning on incorporating the habits I've established this month into my writing life from now on.

Here are my takeaways from NaNo 2012:

  1. Stop stressing. You have an entire month to finish the manuscript. It's not NaNoWriWEEK. My goal was to write about 2,000 words a day. I think I averaged that (thanks to Scrivener and its handy Project Target popup), and it took me no more than an hour and a half to two hours each session.
  2. Plan, plan, plan. I spent the month of October plotting out my NaNoWriMo novel. I created a beat sheet, printed it out, and kept it right next to my computer. I checked off each moment as I finished it. That way, whenever I sat down to write, all I had to do was look at my sheet to find out what came next in the story. As a result, the plot of the story is actually fairly tight. The novel is written worse than your average sixth grader's five paragraph essay, but that's what revisions (and revisions and revisions) are for. Speaking of...
  3. Gloss over the unimportant stuff. Instead of spending an hour writing about how a dew drop looked on a daisy petal, I skipped the fussy descriptions and kept the plot moving. There will be time during revisions for sunsets and rainbows. Besides, most of that fluffy stuff would probably be cut or changed later anyway.

What have you learned from NaNoWriMo this year?

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