NaNoWriMo 2020 takeaways | Writing and life update.


Hello, lovely people! It's been a while since I wrote to you last, I am back now with a large life update and some thoughts about what I learned from NaNoWriMo 2020. If you can't see from the banner above, I won again this year, and by the time I hit 50k words on Nov 30th, I was a lot more excited and joyful than I remember being last year. I think last year, I was just so exhausted by the time I finished that I didn't have enough energy to be excited for myself. However, last Monday at 9:00 PM I wasn't rushing myself or beating myself up and was instead actually enjoying myself as I wrote. I am not finished with my novel, but I am so close and I am very excited to write those last chapters. I'll get more into that later, but first, I would like to give you all a life update.

If you've been around here for a while, then you know that I took a break from blogging for a long while, (probably too long cause I'm lazy like that.) and while I was taking that break, I was able to focus more on that writing. Able to learn more and allow my writing to grow more. In June, I joined the Young Writer's Workshop Author Program which, if you don't know, is a writing program for young writers who have a passion to get their work published one day soon. The instructor, Brett Harris (author of Do Hard Things.) and Kara Swanson (author of The Girl Who Could See and Dust.) are teaching us, not only the writing side of things but also the business side of writing, (Brett's father, Gregg Harris is also teaching the business side which is really awesome!) I have learned so much from them and it has really improved my writing!!! (I've also started a new WIP! So, stay tuned for more information on that coming soon!) I have learned a lot from this and I can't wait to share some of it with you! (Mainly, the impromptu Life Lessons with Brett :D There's a really great tree analogy that I want to write a whole post about.) Okay! Now that we've got that main update out of the way, let's get into the main part of the post. 

My takeaways from NaNoWriMo 2020 (more like A Letter to Future Me) 

These are going to be in no particular order (other than the order that I thought of them in of course.) and the first one is...

The goal isn't to get 50,000 words. 

I know this seems contradictory to the whole point of NaNo but what really counts is showing up for yourself every day to write as much as you can. Even if you don't hit 50k words, look at how much you have already accomplished! Even if it's only 100 words, that is still 100 words closer to completing your novel!!! I wish I had told myself this on those days when I wrote no more than 600 words and was feeling really down about my writing. 

Remember to take a break.

As Brett has often said in YWWA, writing a novel is a marathon, not a sprint. If you don't take breaks inbetween your writing times, then you will quickly burn out and your writing will not be as good as it could be. On the last day of NaNo, I was able to write 4,000 words which boosted me to my goal. So, if you have to take a break from writing for a while, even for a whole day, you can catch up tomorrow. If I did it with my procrastinating brain, you can too! Put your own mental and physical health before your writing. (I'll write a post soon about how I was able to write 4k words in a day.) Also, remember to take small breaks in between your writing times during the day. I like to write for 25 minutes and then take a five minute break. 

Make sure you have a plan. 

Even if you don't outline, you have to have an end goal in mind and have a vague idea of how you are going to get there. If you don't normally do that and just write by the seat of your pants, then NaNo will be a very different experence for you. Because you will be writing so fast, you probably won't be thinking of what is going to happen in the long run but what is going to happen right now. But if you're writing 1667 words a day, the 'long run' isn't going to be that long anymore and soon, you'll get to a point where you're stuck and have to delete, backtrack and rewrite stuff. If you're an outliner like me, please SPEND THE WHOLE MONTH OF OCTOBER PLANNING FOR THIS!!! I didn't think I would be doing NaNo this year because of YWWA but when I realized that, yes, I would have time, I spend the last week of October outlining my novel and doing everything I could to get it ready, but the truth is, outlines take way more than a week to completely flesh out. You may have a small, vague outline, (and as I said above, if you are a panster, that may be all you need) but, if you're like me, that's not going to be enough. (Espically if you have a lot of travel scenes. You need to have something to guide you.) Okay, I've said enough on that topic. Let's move on.

Remember your why.

Why are you writing this story? What is it you want to tell your readers trough this story? Knowing these things will help you to keep your focus on the end goal of seeing this novel that you are writing right now on the bookshelfs of your favorite book store. Write the answers down on a piece of paper and put it on your corkboard or make it into a desktop wallapaper for your computer! Do anything to keep your 'why' in focus.

Let your writing secdule be known.

I know that this is kinda hard at times, but make sure that your family, friends or anyone else who often wants to talk to you know that you will be writing at these times. Or you could even say "I'm going to be writing for a couple hours so please don't distract me or talk to me during that time. I can talk to you after I write." If writing is that important to you, you will make your secdule known. On the day that I wrote 4k words, I told my mom that I really need to write tonight, even though I also wanted to watch the movie they were watching. (Well, I didn't really want to watch it, the movie they were watching wasn't one of my favorites so that was okay.) Prioritizing your writing can sometimes mean saying no to other things you really want to do. But you can do these things later. 

Bonus tip: Find the writing time that works best for you.

I don't know what this would be for everyone, but for me, I know that I do not do my best writing in the mornings. For almost every day in November, I set my alarm clock to go of at 6:30 and every time I woke up, I would feel tired and not want to write. And when I did grab my computer and open my scrivener file, all I wanted to do was lay back in my bed and rest my head on the keyboard. Not the best way to write. I leaned that my best writing time is after I've had breakfast and am fully awake. Preferably in the late morning or in the evening as I'm getting reaedy for bed. But that might be different for you. I know that a lot of people like to wake up early and write. I'm just not one of them. 

So there you go! I hope you enjoyed that rambely post which turned out much longer than I had antsipated. What are some of your favorite writng tips? Did you do NaNo this year? If so, how did it go? What did you learn from it? 

Thank you for reading! See you next Monday with a really cool post that you don't wanna miss!!!

In Christ alone, 
Naomi ;)