What I Learned from Participating in NaNoWriMo

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“You got big dreams…you want fame…well fame costs and right here is where you start paying… in sweat”
-Debbie Allen as Lydia Grant (Fame)

I have been in love with the written word for a very long time and while writing poetry is fairly easy for me; fiction is much harder, it requires me to think and constantly revise. It takes effort. And sweat!So the decision to participate in NaNoWriMo was to test my endurance and my dedication to writing prose.

In spite of the fact that one of my writers resolutions for the year has been to write at least 500 words a day; I have failed miserably thus far. I don’t think that I accomplished that once, outside of academic writing, prior to November. I discovered that I am capable of writing a certain amount of words per day. For me, forced writing can be a good thing. It was a worthy goal because even while sick I was determined to sit down and write those 1667 words per day. But most of all I was reminded that I love writing. Part of that love is wrapped up in creating characters, dialogue and setting.

I also learned that I have to write in spite of distractions. I went to Las Vegas for several days last month and that completely screwed up my writing schedule. Normally, I’m very committed while on vacation and I did complete my classwork while away but my personal writing did suffer quite a bit. In fact I think that I never once met my daily writing goal while I was there. Some days I never even opened my laptop. I needed the vacation but next time I have to write in spite of my excitement and my desire to sightsee and walk around soaking up culture.

While traveling I did utilize one of my favorite apps to jot down bits of dialogue or scenes that I wanted to capture so I also realized that Evernote and other apps are great for writing. I wrote while in a nightclub, while waiting at the airport and while riding in the car around North Las Vegas hunting mountains. I used it on my phone and the app syncs with my computer so it was easy to transfer to my work in progress. Next year I hope to purchase a tablet and plan to use Evernote on that as well. I find it to be extremely helpful and useful.

Although these are not the only things I learned while partaking in National Novel Writing Month they were the most important to me.They’re the lessons that I will take with me next November when I hope to participate again.

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