What did we learn during NaNoWriMo 2012?


NaNoWriMo 2012 Winner BadgeWow it’s December 4th already here in Australia, so a little bit of time has past and the dust has settled on the NaNoWriMo experience.

This was definitely not my best NaNoWriMo to date. On the creative front I never really fell in love with the characters in my book, they were uncooperative and they frustrated me. I usually write characters I like and these girls were annoying.

I started writing in third person and ended up switching to first person with all three characters telling their own story and that definitely worked better. Still, even with that I don’t see myself going back and doing anything with the book.

So that aside let’s focus on what was achieved and how and what went wrong and why.

I’ll be honest I always consider finishing NaNoWriMo to be a huge achievement but this year, despite what I said above, it was mammoth for me. My November was insanely busy. I had so many social functions I can barely believe my husband’s 50th birthday party was only a month ago – it feels like a dim memory. Add in a weekend away and a school reunion and several birthday dinners and I didn’t know who I was some days.

Of course I also had work to do. That’s new for me in general and especially with NaNoWriMo. I run a boutique PR consultancy and this time last year we were not busy and now we are. It’s wonderful and I’m loving what I’m doing but that definitely meant more to juggle.

So given all of that I am pleased with the outcome.

Now to the nitty gritty.

I lost 3,000 words about a week in. My computer did some weird update…I’m not sure even now how it happened as it seems to autosave every five minutes but it did happen and it really took the wind out of my sails. So our first lesson is be very careful with your technology. I can’t guarantee that won’t happen again, as I still don’t know how it happened but save, save, save.

I wrote some posts about being organised and I totally think that is the key to success. I wasn’t as prepared as I should have been as I had lots of work deadlines at the end of October but still stocking up on food, preparing meals ahead really saved me. It was great to throw that pasta bake in the oven and write for forty minutes while it cooked for example.

I set my computer up a bit differently based on the advice Terri Green provided on this blog and I didn’t get the crippling sore neck I often do, which was a huge win.

You also really need to follow some basic principles…try and get ahead at the start, write more than the 1667 word minimum each day, use every 1/2 hour block you have because every 200 words makes a difference.

The lesson I learn every time I do NaNoWriMo is the same – I waste a lot of time in a day I can find an hour a day to write…the time is there if I go in search of it but it will not find me or be obvious about it’s whereabouts.

If you did NaNoWriMo in 2012 what did you learn?

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