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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Lessons Learend from NaNoWriMo
In case you didn't know, the NaNoWriMo mentioned in the subject stands for National Novel Writing Month. It's a crazed deal where you begin a novel from scratch on November 1st and write like a mad hatter until November 30th. The goal? 50,000 words. Did I participate in this fiasco? Yes...proud to say I did. Did I actually produce a 50k product by the 30th., I didn't. BUT! I did learn some valuable lessons during this venture into overachieverness.

First of all, I don't know of anyone who can produce a reasonably sane manuscript in 30 days and from scratch. So beating myself up for this one failure wasn't an option. Instead, I took the positive from the attempt and turned it into a self improvement exercise. Mind you, my ending word count ended up a beefy 47,000 words. You might be saying 'oh you loser' right now, but let me finish first. Most of those 47K words were completed over the holiday weekend. This involved neglect of some very festive moments which brought my family to my house thinking I'd sunk into a depression of lonely lunacy. My kids kept asking me did I want to play Clue now every hour or so. They gave up after only an entire day of trying. They've inherited my gift of persistence.

And then the night of the final word count aka last night at the time of this post, I burned out. Tired, sleepy, cranky, aching...burned out! All because I'd pushed myself too unreasonably hard. My lessons learned? 1) I can fight the procrastination monster. If an agent wants to see my finished work by a deadline, I now know I can pump the words out to accomplish the task. 2) You don't have to move a mountain in a day or a month for that matter. There are many writers who can move mountains in a few seconds. I am however, am not one of them. If you burn yourself out, you won't get anything done anyway. So don't try to match what everyone else does. Set a pace comfortable for yourself. And 3) Your family's needs ALWAYS come first. If your kids want you to stop an play CLUE, then do so. You'll feel a new type rejuvenation in the end.

Though I didn't win the purple 'winner' certificate in NaNoWriMo, I did find victory in gaining self confidence, a realistic portrait of who I am as a writer, and some killer Clue's on why Mr. Green is always the one who killed the butler in the living room! Congrats to all the winners of NaNoWriMo!

Yours in prose
10:23 am est 

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