What I learned About Myself as a Writer During NaNoWriMo

If you don’t know, November was National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Which is crazy, because November is a ridiculously busy month, and a holiday month. Why would anyone do this to already emotionally vulnerable writers such as myself? I don’t know. I don’t know why they would.

This was my second year participating in NaNoWriMo, though I’m not sure if I can call last year actually participating. I refer to is as my NaNoWriMo NotSoMuch.

This year though! I won it! I freakin’ won it, y’all!

And let me tell you, it was a glorious feeling. Even though, I didn’t exactly do it the way you’re supposed to do it. Ideally, you’re supposed to write 1,667 words a day, each day in November. My writing looked more like this:

Last week I wrote roughly 32,000 words. I finished the last 2,000 words in the Westchester Airport, after touching down from Seattle.

During NanoWriMo, I learned a lot about myself as a writer. Some things, I kind of already knew, and some were brand new to me.

Photo from: NaNoWriMo

What I Learned About Myself During NaNoWriMo

  1. Everything is distracting! I can’t watch TV, listen to music, or be around conversation if I want to get anything done. I am so easily distracted. I used to listen to music all the time when I wrote, but this time around it was super distracting.
  2. I move my lips around a lot when I write. I purse them, move them from side to side, and make all sorts of weird faces with them. Kind of like what a child does, when they are writing with crayons…
  3. I suck at writing 1,667 words a day, but I’m pretty good at the 8-32k word catch up. I already knew that one. I have always been awful with deadlines, I think I need to pressure to motivate me.
  4. I’m so fidgety when I first sit down to write. I have to get a drink, then wash my hands, adjust my seat, and then again, and again. I have to get a drink, and then wipe the table, and a million other things. I’m guessing this is just another manifestation of my procrastination.
  5. When I get going, and the words are flowing out of me, I start nodding. Like, yup, I got this. And I’ll do this at home and in public. Cause shit yeah, I’m writing a book!
  6. I get unnecessarily angry when people try to advise me about what should happen next. You can give me technical advice, or grammar advice. But when it comes to my characters, I’m like a momma bear, and if you try to tell them what to do, I’ll fight you.
  7. When I’m on my game, and not farting around, I can easily write over 1,000 words. But refer to number four Yup there to see why that doesn’t happen every time I sit down.
  8. When I reach the goal for the day, I stop and say “thank god” or “finally” and then stop, even if I have more to say. Sometimes I’ll keep going if I’m catching up, but if I’m caught up, I’m done when I hit the that goal mark.
  9. When my characters are doing things with their faces or their hands, I often have to do them as I write them to better describe them. It’s pretty funny to watch. I’ll be typing and then stop to mimic someone picking up another persons face by the chin. And that sentence is exactly why I do it. How the heck do you describe that action without it sounding crazy? He used his hand to lift her chin? He lifted her face, with a touch of his hand under her chin. I’m telling you some actions just can’t be described.
  10. The most important lesson I learned from NaNoWriMo, is that I am capable of writing a 200 page novel with a start a middle and an end. I am capable of setting a goal, and accomplishing it, no matter how hard it is. I learned that I want to be a writer, that I AM a writer!

Writing 50,000 words in one month, is crazy hard. Especially when that month is the same one as Thanksgiving, and when you have to travel during three out of the four weeks. I am so glad that I pushed myself to finish though. I set a goal at the beginning of the year to finish a novel and I can’t believe I actually did it! But now I’m looking to write the next thing. And next year, I think my goal will to get a novel published.


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  1. Reply

    Eeeep!! Congrats!! I do many of the same things. Nodding, moving my lips, find projects to procrastinate…. I love your mama bear comment.

    1. Reply

      Thanks Tricia! It was a long hard challenge, but I’m so glad I did it! We’ll have to be creative together somewhere so people can see our collective weirdness, lol.
      Ani Kay recently posted…What I learned About Myself as a Writer During NaNoWriMoMy Profile

  2. Reply

    I called this NaBloPoMo instead of Nanowritowhato. I just made that up. It’s pretty good.

    I love posts like this because they are lists and with my ADHD, I struggle to read anything more than that.

    You are my favorite and I can’t wait to say, “yeah, Ani and I go way back. I used to know her when we were both struggling writers”.

    1. Reply

      Haha I love this. Let’s do a book tour together!

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