Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Things I Have Learned from NaNoing


This is National Novel Writing Month, for those of you who may not know. The challenge is to write 50,000 words in the month of November. And the prize is . . . well, knowing you have written 50,000 words.

I decided to take the challenge this year and, back in October, thought about what to write. Some people do not like to plan ahead at all but simply write whatever comes to them. They call it writing by the seat of their pants. I call it channeling spirits. (Just joking!)

I don’t believe I have ever been able to sit down and write “cold.” I have to daydream a little before I can write. So . . . all those long bubble baths, the dozing in the hammock, the taking of naps is really me working hard.

At least, that’s what I tell my husband.

However, even though I have to think before I write doesn’t mean I don’t follow my fingers where they lead. Sometimes it’s one of those aha moments. Such as the naming of the dog back in book one (years ago), and the significance that name develops in book 2. Unplanned. One of those God moments to me. (Maybe just something corny to my would-be readers.)

And that was only the beginning. My fingers led me places I had not thought of before that moment and to subplots that became a strong thread of the main plot.

I have learned to trust my fingers, wherever they lead. If it’s just a bunch of gibberish, that’s what the delete button is for—after NaNo, of course.

Something else I have learned—keep my nose to the grindstone and persevere, even when my nose gets ground away.

You see, my computer crashed. Three times. Everything wiped clean.

Thank goodness for online backup and flash drives. I did lose words, around 3000 all together, and hours while I worked on my computer (I have two and both crashed.). I finally broke down and bought a new computer and reinstalled my software. I still haven’t installed everything, but I’m working on it.

And, I’ve said, since I first heard of NaNo years ago, why was this month chosen—the month of Thanksgiving and Christmas shopping? Obviously, some man chose it. Or someone who didn’t cook.

But through it all, I have typed away, cheered on by friends and family. Persevering even amidst the trials. A lot like life, isn’t it?

And this is my award:


That and 50,114 words.

Something well worth the effort.

Congrats to all my fellow NaNo winners!

And thanks to my family who put up with me during NaNo.



  1. Congrats sheila! Feels good, doesn't it?

  2. Congrats on the win, Sheila! It feels good to see that shiny certificate, doesn't it?

    And as a pantser, I can tell you we never go in totally cold. I do a lot of what you do - brainstorm during moments away from the keyboard, then work with the best bits. And bubble baths are absolutely a legitimate work session for a writer - the one I took Tuesday afternoon gave me the plot twists I needed to inject a little life into the end of my novel. Giant troll dolls come to life? Only a bubble bath could have tickled that out of my brain cells... ;)

    Anyway, kudos on the win, and happy editing. :)

  3. Thanks, Traci. Do you suppose we can take the cost of the bubbles as a deduction on taxes? And the cost of a hammock? And a new mattress for our bed? And don't forget the comfy pillow . . .

  4. Wow, with those pitfalls in the way you still did you 50K. That's perseverance!

  5. Thanks, Christine. There were a couple of times I thought about throwing in the towel but talked myself out of it.

    Thanks for stopping by!


Thanks for sharing your thoughts.