Saturday, November 6, 2010


Posted by Jonene Ficklin

I’ve never done Nano (National Writing Month) before. I wasn’t going to. A very good friend convinced me otherwise and I’m oh, so grateful.

This is my first time and it’s been interesting. You learn a lot about yourself as a writer.

I learned that my internal editor is a slave-driver, and it’s liberating to shut if off and just write for the joy of it.

I learned it takes approximately two uninterrupted hours to write 2,000 words.

I learned just how many excuses (99%) I can safely throw into the sea and watch float away without any remorse whatsoever.

And I’m excited. Writing 50,000 words in a month is possible, is reasonable, and for me at least, a great lesson I’m eager to relearn. (I wrote my first novel in six weeks. It stunk. But it was sure fun to write.)

So, I have a question for you. If this is your first Nano, what have you learned about writing and/or about yourself this week? And if you’ve done it before, what is the best thing you learned?


  1. I have never done NaNo before, but I might try it someday. It seems that November always finds me at something other than the drafting stage of the writing process. I like to take my writing binge in the summer instead.

    Excuses, excuses, I know. Truly, I admire you writers who go for it.

  2. I did a personal NaNoWriMo in August this year because I knew I wouldn't be participating this year. I learned that I should not be interrupted with Some Big Travel Plans halfway through the month because I didn't write anymore after them. (I meant to, I truly did, but nothing comes from having intentions alone.)

    This November, I learned what I would be writing about next November.

  3. Go Jonene! I have another friend with a strong internal editor doing NaNo this time around, and I think it is fabulous for letting yourself cut loose and just write!

    I did NaNo last year, and for me it was a 50k tutorial in voice. I didn't have an outline, I had an idea and a single paragraph. I ended up writing 60k, discovering a tremendous amount about myself as a writer, and found about a month later that I had only written about half of the story. (p.s. I wrote the second half, and that NaNo story is the novel I'm editing now)

    I had hoped to draft another one this November, but I wasn't ready (tiny things like research, outline, etc), plus I need to focus on my edits. But NaNo last year taught me that when I am ready, I'll be able to sit down and draft it.

    Go, write, win! :)

  4. One thing I do know about binge-writing a first draft: never attempt to toilet-train a child at the same time.

  5. This is my 3rd NaNo. I tried to stay away this year as I really should be working on a rewrite, but I couldn't resist :)

  6. Go Jonene! So far this month I've learned not to be in the endstages of a rewrite, mid novel on a different first draft, final touch ups of yet a different novel, and the begining of a NaNo project all at the same time. Yeah, you wouldn't think it would take a lot for me to figure out that, but I'm a slow learner. He he.

  7. Rebecca, yeah, on top of everything, November is a hard month anyway with the holidays screaming forward. I'd be all for having it in January (New Year's resolutions) or February.

    K.L., Wow, I'm impressed that you got it started on your own! August is another hard month, with school and everything!

    Susan, way to go! I now have tremendous respect for someone who not only met their Nano goals, but finished the novel. Best of luck on the edits!

    Rebecca, ha ha! Talk about necessary interruptions. That's the 1% legitimate excuse that us absolutely valid. Good luck with the potty training!

    Jemi, no way! You're my hero!

    Leisha, superwomen are only human, ha ha! But if I know anyone who can pull it off, despite all the projects going, it's you!

  8. I've never participated, but FWIW, I've always written the first draft at NaNo speeds. If I'm not producing 2,000 words a day, something's wrong with the story and I need to go pound my head against the wall until I figure out what it is. So in my uneducated opinion, my guess is that NaNo can teach a person how to get ideas flowing strong and fast.

    I spent years thinking writing was, like any other job, work. Do it even when you hate it, even when it's hard. Those times when the story is just bursting to be told are the exception, not the norm, but then a few years ago I decided to change my attitude, given the only stories that sold were the ones bursting to be told. Now I put more time into cultivating an idea until I love it, then write it down. If I'm not having fun, the reader's not either. And my sales are coming a little more regularly, so for now, the new approach is working.

  9. Emily, thanks for sharing your experience and good luck with the baby and writing!

  10. Last year was my first NaNo. What I've learned is that I can write an entire novel under 2 weeks if I don't have kids underfoot.

    The ideas flow and flow and flow.

    I've been tremendously blessed to have the ability to create and writers block is a rarity.

    however, the editing aspect is what slows me. Ugh...

    One thing is that I create best with prayer! <3

  11. Elizabeth, Wow, two weeks and no writer's block? Did you outline or pre-plan much before? Sorry about the editing part. And about prayer, I know a great gal that prays for good dreams that will help her write. And she gets them!

  12. My first nano - met my goal easily. I'm same as Elizabeth. If I can have the time, I'll be able to write. Nano gave me an excuse to push everything else aside and just write.
    I'll do laundry next month.

  13. Jolene, it's awesome, isn't it? And your laundry will always be there - unfortunately. : )
    Go get 'em!


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