NaNoWriMo Comes to an End: Lessons Learned

Today is the last day of NaNoWriMo. Participants have spent thirty days ignoring their dishes and laundry to push out a few more words. Their kids and spouses are feeling the strain as well. My critique partners and I over at Fiction 411 have been chronicling the month’s happenings daily. And now, it’s all coming to an end until next year.

Did you reach 50k? I can tell you one thing with humbled certainty: I didn’t.

Due to another project I have in the works (more about that later), I didn’t reach the desired 50,000 words. However, this NaNo season has been about more than reaching a word count goal for me. For one thing, I tried a new genre I’d never written before. And while I still love it after a month of plugging away, I learned I have nuances to grasp in this genre. Also, since I stretched myself to try new things, I consequently broke out of a rut I’d found myself falling into back in October. That’s a success for me.

Lessons I Learned from NaNo

3 Lessons I learned from NaNoWriMo

  1. Have realistic expectations – Pick the goal you can achieve—not one you want but can’t have.
  2. Sometimes life throws you plot twists – When life throws you one of these, keep going. You might have to have your own personal NaNoWriMo in December.
  3. Community support is key – Meeting a goal together is much easier than apart. Writers, do you have a critique group? As a team, come up with a goal and cheer each other on. Set a deadline to exchange manuscripts, for example. Make it fun.
  4. Anything worth doing is worth doing right—and chances are, it’ll also require effort and discipline. Do you have what it takes to go the distance? Of course you do. Along the way, learn lessons and offer yourself grace. Continue writing and be disciplined enough to make daily writing a habit for the whole year and not just in November.

Did you try NaNoWriMo this year? How’d it go?

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