National Novel Writing Month: Lessons Learned & What Happens Now

The idea behind National Novel Writing Month is to engage in a crazy, creative endeavor and complete a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. This event began in 1999 and has since become an international sensation. If you’ve never checked it out, you should!

I began participating in NaNoWriMo in 2010. I wrote the first 50,000 words of a novel I have yet to fully complete. I have worked on this novel on and off since then, and the word count is currently somewhere around 150,000. I’ve learned a great deal in the intervening years, however, and much of that first 50k needs to be completely rewritten.

One thing I learned is that while there is great energy in writing by the seat of your pants (a.k.a. pantsing), a lot of time can be saved with a little planning before jumping into a novel-length project. Therefore, as November is once again approaching, I find myself working to better prepare myself to write the ending of this long overdue novel.

Currently, I am slogging through extensive character profiles. This is work I’ve actually done previously, but tragically lost in a recent computer failure. Another lesson, hard learned along the way. Back up your work! Do it now, and do it frequently!

I am very close to finishing this novel. My goal now is to complete it this November. In the coming weeks before a new NaNoWriMo event begins, I intend to prepare. I will be ready with characters I know better than I know myself. And I will have a workable outline for finishing this novel.

Are you planning to write this November? How are you preparing? If you’ve done this before, what lessons have you learned?

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