Monday, 20 October 2014

What National Novel Writing Month Taught Me

National Novel Writing Month is just around the corner! Are you participating? If you're a writer--pro, amateur, or aspiring--it can be a great help. I did it for the first time last year and will be doing it again this year. Below is a reprint of a post I did after the 2013 NaNoWriMo talking about what I learned.

Like many fellow indie writers, I participated in National Novel Writing Month. I managed to finish an entire post-apocalyptic novel of 71,000 words in the month of November. It's a post-apocalyptic thriller called Radio Hope.

OK, enough self-promotion. What did writing a novel in a single month teach me? Here are ten things I learned.

1. If you are mostly unemployed (I recently lost my travel blogging job when Gadling laid off all their regulars) your word count goes way up.

2. Keeping your word count up helps with your self-esteem when you're mostly unemployed.

3. Keeping your word count up after the challenge is over maintains your self-esteem. I'm working on the sequel right now. (Update: that's called Refugees from the Righteous Horde. It's now out. I'll be working on book three of the series this year).

4. You'll help your confidence if you get a jump on the game by writing a lot on the first day. November 1 was my most productive day, with 5,300 words.

5. Write every day, even if it's just 500 words (my worst day) because that forward momentum keeps you from getting stuck.

6. It's good to find a group to help you. I was down in Madrid on November 1 and got to hang out with other members of my old writers group. We took over the back room of a cafe and wrote like mad!

7. If you give the project sufficient focus, you will not have a drop in quality as you increase quantity.

8. You will, however, make more typos. A lot more. Really embarrassing ones.

9. The online community at the NaNo website is super supportive, helpful, and friendly, and disappears after November 30.

10. It's really, really fun!

1 comment:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Good luck! Sounds like it's awesome for the self-esteem. Not participating this year, but I did write CassaFire during NaNo 2010.

Looking for more from Sean McLachlan? He also hangs out on the Civil War Horror blog, where he focuses on Civil War and Wild West history.

You can also find him on his Twitter feed and Facebook page.