NaNoWriMo 2014: Lessons Learned and Post-NaNo Plans

This will be my last NaNoWriMo post until next year’s event. However, before I put NaNoWriMo 2014 to bed, I think it deserves a bit of reflection.

When I consider where I started in October, I am amazed by the progress I made in my writing career – in only 30 days at that! If you want to read my pre-NaNo post, you can do so here. But, long story short, I began NaNoWriMo as someone who called herself a writer without a steady writing routine or finished manuscript, but with a lot of hope, determination, and a Bachelors of Arts in English. For me, NaNoWriMo was a chance to prove to myself that I studied the right subject in university, to justify my decision to postpone graduate school, and to show myself that I have the discipline and the guts to turn writing into a full-time career.

In case you have not been following my NaNoWriMo journey (and have a lot of free time on your hands), you can catch up here or simply read my final day recap here. Again, long story short, I won NaNoWriMo on Day 19 and finished my manuscript on Day 30.

Here are my totals:

Total Word Count: 80,060

Average Daily Word Count: 2,668

Total Hours Spent Writing: 56 hours

Average Daily Writing Time: 1.87 hours

Average Words per Hour: 1,430

While all these numbers are nice for reference, I know: we writers aren’t normally numbers people. So, here are my qualitative NaNoWriMo results, aka, my lessons learned.

  1. The only way to write a novel is to actually sit down and write it. Yes, this is entirely self-evident, but a lot of writers tend to do a lot more talking about writing than actual writing (myself included until November).
  1. When you stop worrying about every word being perfect, writing is easy. Okay, this may not be true for everyone, but I found that the moment I shut off my mental editor, the words flowed through my fingertips, and I produced a huge volume of work very quickly.
  1. Speaking of this, I learned that I am a prolific writer. I have never thought of myself as a fast writer, but given my averages, I feel like I can call myself one now.
  1. Writing is so much more fun with a community. Having that NaNoWriMo community on Twitter and WordPress was awesome! I loved cheering on my fellow writers and receiving support in return. While I know the enthusiasm will die down as writers crawl back into the woodwork, I hope that some writers stay out and social and keep the spirit alive!
  1. Writing a first draft is only the beginning. This is not something I learned during NaNoWriMo, but it is something I feel now that it is over. The first draft is step one. Then comes editing, revising, marketing, branding, publishing, etc. The fears of draft writing may be gone, but now they are replaced with a whole new box of nerves and excitement!

So now what? In a previous post, I offered suggestions for what do post-NaNoWriMo. You can probably already guess, but I fall into the final category: “I won NaNoWriMo, my manuscript is complete, and I want to seek publication.”

Currently, I am working on my plans to transition into writing as a career and start my own author business. Of course, this will be a slow project, and I will probably be working a day job for several more years.

I won’t go into much detail in this post, because there is simply too much to discuss! However, I will say that this is going to be the main focus of my blog from here on out. I will be sharing everything I learn about business, independent publishing, marketing, and of course writing. I will also still offer “Feedback Fridays,” but I will focus on reviewing books for writers related to craft and business. And, of course, I will share tidbits from my personal life as well.

If this sounds useful, entertaining, or interesting to you, I hope you keep coming back and reading my blog. I don’t want this to be a place just for me, but also for you all to learn, be entertained, and engage in discussions of all things writing. Thanks for reading and staying with me through the next steps of my writing career!


What are your post-NaNoWriMo plans? What do you want to know or need to learn about writing, publishing, and creating an author business? Share it all below!

 

 

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Kate M. Colby is an author of science fiction, fantasy, and nonfiction. When she is not writing or working, Kate enjoys playing video games, antiquing, and wine tasting. She lives in the United States with her husband and furry children.

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Posted in Writing & Publishing Articles, Writing Craft & Tips
13 comments on “NaNoWriMo 2014: Lessons Learned and Post-NaNo Plans
  1. blankborders says:

    Oh, points 1 and 2 I identify with 100%. Part of my own reason for doing NaNo was to stop talking, start writing, and it sounds so silly but it’s so easy to get caught up in the various ‘what if’s, the planning and researching, that the actual writing starts to take a mental backseat.

    Great article, and good luck with your publication plans.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wishing you the best on your editing journey!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am a numbers person, and I’m really impressed with yours! That’s excellent work for your first novel, especially as a newlywed. And your lessons learned are important ones. Wishing you the best of luck as you revise!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh my days! I liked you until I saw this post. Finished on day 19???!!! I’m so jealous. I must look like the wicked witch of the west rIght now. But envy aside, CONGRATULATIONS!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha thank you. Trust me, I am still in disbelief that I did it that quickly. However, it took me until the last day of NaNoWriMo to finish my manuscript, so I had lots of my own jealousy for writers who finished their whole story early.

      Like

  5. The Great Gabsby says:

    #2 is so true. I keep putting off writing because my work never seems good enough but I realised that the only way to get is to write (even if it’s crap), and to write more.

    Great blog, by the way. Following!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. […] I am centering my writing goals around the National Novel Writing Month events, because that is a proven method by which I can produce a manuscript. You may also notice that I am not including editing in my […]

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  8. […] NaNoWriMo. In case you are new to my site (if so, hello!), I recently participated in and won NaNoWriMo 2014 and have walked away with plans to revise and independently publish my the resulting novel. In this […]

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