On Winning NaNoWriMo

I won NaNoWriMo yesterday morning! This means I completed 50,000 words over the course of 30 days. My story is not yet done – I still have a ways to go before it’s completed. But I’ve carved out 50,000 words and that makes all the difference.

NaNoWriMo is easy for some, but difficult for others. I fall into the latter camp, I think. If I stick to it, I’m all right. But I am not one of those people who can write 150,000 words in one month. These people do exist, and it gives me premature carpal tunnel just thinking about it.

But what I DO love about NaNoWriMo is that it encourages me to write through the times when I don’t want to write. The thing that prevented from really getting stories finished in the past, was that I would find myself uninspired, and I would let that be a reason not to write. I would decide I had nothing I was burning up to say, and therefore it wasn’t worth writing at all. But I was wrong. Because sometimes when you sit down to write, even if you don’t want to, even if you’re convinced it will be trash, sometimes it’s not. Sometimes it’s actually okay, or even better than okay. Sometimes it’s the best part of your story. And if you hadn’t sat down and ground it out despite being uninterested, you wouldn’t have it now. NaNoWriMo showed me this in 2011, when I won for the first (and only, until yesterday) time. It showed me that getting the story was more important than catering to my inspirational whims, because I knew everything I didn’t like could be fixed. There is no fixing something you don’t like if you can’t even get it on paper.

I hope everyone who participated took something valuable away from it, whether you “won” or not – the important part of the experience is learning to just write for the sake of it. That is the beauty of NaNoWriMo.


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