Nanowrimo! (Winner)

This November I set out to do the seemingly-impossible-but-very-possible(!) task of writing 50,000 words of one novel in only 30 days. Since I'm kind of tired of writing coherent sentences, here is another post to follow up the first one that I made before I embarked on this adventure. Some things I learned:

1. Giving up is really really easy.

Goodness gracious, I wanted to give up at least once every day until I reached that last stretch of 10,000 words. And it would have been so easy to just throw in the towel and let yet another unfinished project stay hidden in a computer file somewhere. But luckily my mom and I made a pact-we both got a better prize if BOTH of us finished our 50,000 words, so I had a reason to keep writing.

2. Writing is difficult.

Writing is work. Sometimes you have to write when you don't feel "inspired," sometimes you have to make time to write before the sun has even come up because there is so much you have to do for your other obligations. It is stressful, and tiring, and most of the time,

3. your first draft is really ugly.

Almost all of the beautiful prose we have the pleasure of enjoying was once a crappy first draft. The hardest thing while writing your first draft is telling yourself that it's ok for it to be bad, that you will go back and revise it and it will be better. It requires so much patience to just accept the current state of that paragraph you just mangled, and to wait maybe MONTHS for the draft to be finished so you can go back. If you don't believe me: listen to John Green.

4. Writing is a habit.

I have wanted to tell this story for years. And I just spent 30 days on it and have written more of it in that time frame than I ever have before. Guess what? I wanted to write more of it. I feel compelled to sit down and brainstorm and write more scenes, because I just spent 30 days developing a habit of writing every day. This doesn't mean every day will be a super productive day. My writing isn't too much better after winning Nanowrimo. But it made me realize that the habit of writing gets way more done than waiting to feel inspired, or waiting until you have just the right idea. There's always time for revision, but there has to be something on the paper.

5. Don't let your dreams be dreams.

There is no better time than now to do the stuff you've always wanted to do. If you want something, make time for it, and don't give up. JUST FREAKING DO IT. It doesn't have to make you a millionaire. No one ever has to see it. You want to learn an instrument? Do it. Write a play? Do it. Chances are it won't drastically change your life. But knowing that you set your mind to a goal and accomplished it is a really good feeling. It just takes time, effort, and a little bit of trust in yourself.


I would like to thank my mother, who kept making me tea so that I would feel obligated to stay up writing even when I wanted to give up. Someday I'll be a real author like her. ;)


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