Lessons Learned From NaNoWriMo 2018

Lessons Learned From NaNoWriMo 2018

I can officially say that I survived my first NaNoWriMo! Although I didn’t meet the 50,000-word count goal, I did make some incredible progress on my current WIP. I had set goals for myself for each week along with rewards I would treat myself to if I reached these goals. Unfortunately, I was not able to treat myself. Again, that’s okay! It’s more important to look at the big picture.

As far as NaNo activities go, I participated in my first NaNo event during Camp NaNo in April of this year. I set a goal of 30,000 words. I ended up only writing 12,500. It was my first time participating, so it was a great learning experience for me. Each time I participate is just another wonderful lesson.

Going into NaNoWriMo, I was definitely intimidated by a goal of 50,000 words. After all, I had tried 30,000 and failed. But I was determined. Ultimately, I reached 25,000 words – 25,110 to be exact. By the last day, I was intent on at least making it halfway through and I did it. In comparison to Camp NaNo, I did amazing! I wrote twice as much as I did in April and that’s something to be proud of.

Again, NaNoWriMo was a great learning experience for me and I’m going to take these lessons and utilize them in my current strategies towards completing this novel. I’m choosing to be positive and optimistic about it. That’s how you have to be! It can be easy to feel defeated and bogged down by “failure”, heck, I definitely had some moments during November where I felt like a failure and wondered if my dream would ever come to fruition. Instead of letting that negativity consume me, I’m going take this lesson as a motivator to push me forward!

So, allow me to share with you what my plans are coming out of NaNoWriMo and moving into the new year.

Create a Playlist

Okay, so technically, I had already done this. Or so I thought. I’ve mentioned before that Taylor Swift music is one of my muses. During NaNoWriMo, I would play her albums and it was great. I also created a Pandora playlist of 90’s music. Admittedly, this got me in trouble a couple of times. One night (when I should have been writing), I ended up in a YouTube rabbit hole of Backstreet Boys music, solo ventures, and behind-the-scenes videos. That didn’t exactly help me stay on track. One night, I also discovered songs on my iTunes I had forgotten about. They helped me draw some inspiration.

All of this made me realize that I hadn’t truly prepared myself for my music while writing. For me, I need to have some kind of background noise. Music is what helps me best. I was relying too much on T. Swift to pull me through. She’s great, but I need a bit more variety.

So, I want to sit down and create a playlist of songs that I create all my own. (No surprises from Pandora, as fun and distracting as they are). This will help me set myself up for success during my writing sessions. I won’t have to worry about music, I’ll just need to pick a playlist and go.

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P to the L to the O-T-T-I-N-G: PLOTTING!

I’m a huge plotter. My current WIP is plotted like CRAZY. I have so many backstories, plans, and behind-the-scenes things figured out it’s ridiculous. Let’s put it this way. If I had spent my time writing instead of plotting, I could have written the entire four-part series I’m working on and probably two other supplemental stories in this world. I’m serious about it. And, to be honest, I enjoy the plotting process!

Well, I’ve been plotting since 2007. That’s over ten years of plotting. I haven’t done any serious plotting since probably 2013. Since getting back into this story last year, I have done some revamping to my original story. I cut characters (I really had too many). I changed things up a bit.

I did some basic plotting regarding this revamp. But, as I found out, I didn’t go back and change any of the other plotting points I had been making since the beginning. These notes had been created 10 years ago! As I was writing this time around, I realized that some things needed to change. I needed to go back and plot more. I came up with a few ideas while writing that contradicted what I had previously planned.

I could have easily stopped writing and plotted instead. But I didn’t. I had to get my words in! So, my plan for the next month is to get some plotting done. I want to get this out of the way so I can plow through the rest of this book without having to do much plotting.

Honestly, I’m pretty excited about this! I used to spend hours and hours just plotting this book and creating this world and these characters. Now, I get to do it again after a very long time. I look forward to seeing what I come up with! Plus, I think it will help me really dive into this book and help me write this story.

Change My Business Strategy

I love what I’m doing with my blog and my social media channels. But, I want to free up more of my time for my writing, too. After all, my business is being an author. I need to get some books out there! I’m also freelancing at the moment. As a source of revenue for my family, this has to come first.

When I’m not busy doing that, I work on my business and things that are for me. That included writing and my business. In order to make more time for writing, I have to cut back a little bit. So, I’m going to be going down to two blog posts a month and I’ll be cutting my social posts in half. But, this time should also make it easier for me to connect with my other writers. I want to participate in writing sprints (maybe even host one!). I want to shift my focus on my writing instead of my social strategy.

My Plans For 2019

All in all, I’m really excited about what I have planned for the next year. My goal is to finish my WIP by March. I want to have it published in 2019. Even if that means it doesn’t get published until December 31, 2019. I want to finally get this story out there and see this dream come true.

Also, because I want to have a published book, I want to really get my website and social media channels running smoothly and prepared to help promote my book. I’ll be working on doing all of that as well. Wish me luck!

Lessons Learned From NaNoWriMo 2018