Lessons Learned from NaNoWriMo 2015

  1. November is a horrible month to try and write a book.

At least it is for me. That’s not to say I couldn’t do it, but the odds are seemingly stacked against me. One week in the month is almost completely shot due to Thanksgiving and travel. This year more so than others as our travel week was shortened by a couple of days. It seems counter-intuitive. I didn’t gain the days we weren’t traveling back though. Had we traveled the full week I would have had more free time to write. Instead I had work, church, and life that I didn’t normally have. The few days I was out of town were spent visiting with extended family. Not to say ‘woe is me’ by any means. It is just the reality of things which leads me to point number 2.

  1. I’m not particularly disciplined.

This is not a revelation. This blog has sat dormant for a year or so. I haven’t touched a guitar for about a year. My music blog is more regularly updated, but not as regularly as I would like. Part of it is living life. Part of it is giving into mindlessly watching television. Part of it is not having a lot of energy the past few months. All told I just don’t capitalize on the time I do have available. Again, none of this is a major revelation. Until I find motivation it just isn’t going to happen. I can beat myself up over that or I get up and try again. I’ll stick with the later knowing that some days I’m just not going to have it in me.

  1. Writing 1600-1700 words a day really isn’t difficult.

The first two weeks I was as close to being on track as I could be. Sitting down at a computer and hammering out the words isn’t as difficult a task. This is the third year I’ve tried to write a novel in a month and each year I’ve gotten pretty far in before the wheels fell off the wagon. If I take the approach of dialing back to around 500 words a day I could have a novel done in three to four months. Not exactly greased lightning, but that’s 3 novels a year. Quality might not be all that high, but you don’t get better not writing either.

All said the novel I started has some good ideas and I have every intention of finishing it off in the next month or two. I might even get brave enough to share it someday. Where I fail in NaNoWriMo is far exceeded by what NaNoWriMo does for me. It gets me writing. It all goes back to the exercise illustration. You don’t gain muscle if you don’t do some kind of physical labor, exercise or otherwise. The more you exercise the easier it becomes. Writing is the same, the more you do the easier it becomes to do it.

Will I try again next year? Possibly. Probably. It all depends on where I am in the journey a year from now. But I will never stop writing.

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