NaNoWriMo Lessons for Next Time

I crossed the finish line (50,000 words) of National Novel Writer’s Month after a marathon 5K word day on the Sunday before NaNo actually finished.

In the two weeks since then I’ve added less than 5K words to the novel, which is not finish. I left it in the midst of what I hope will be the climax, because I got stuck. Up until that point I had been free to write my characters into tricky situations with the thought that I’d deal with the solutions later. Turns out: dealing with the solutions takes time and thinking. That’s one lesson for next year’s NaNo. Here are some more notes.

  • Keep the wordcount a little ahead of the game to allow for the creative slow-down towards the end of the month. Maybe tweak the wordcount targets, to allow for more words in the middle two weeks and fewer in the last week.
  • Don’t get too far ahead because I’ll get lazy/ burned out.
  • Do outline.
  • Get main character interacting with other characters sooner.
  • “Make your bastards loveable and your heroes weak” (RTDavies)
  • Do take time during the challenge to outline the next section, flesh out character sketches. It’ll make the next writing block go faster.
  • Do consider warm-up writing in the morning even if it’s not novel-text. Don’t spend more than 30-45 mins on it.
  • Do have other commitments during the month. Preferably most days. At the same time.