Siwicki

What I Learned Doing NaNoWriMo

February 07, 2016

In May, of this year, I started writing every morning. It was just something that I was experimenting with. I started with just some writing prompts I found online. Then I switched to the more daily pages routine. As, of writing this post, I have written a minimum of 750 words a day for 202 straight days.

When November hit, I wanted to try to do something different. I was getting married that month, but I wanted to change up my daily habit.

I also decided to this on October 31st and the goal of a NaNoWriMo is 50,000 words.

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) starts on November 1; you start working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30.

So, with the wedding going on, I want just to finish. I wasn’t going to worry so much about word counts. I just wanted to finish a story.

I never had attempted to write fiction since college. I study journalism in college, and I always loved a good story. But, actually trying to attach a piece of fiction with some structure and some purpose was something that I have never done.

The first week I struggled with this concept. I was replacing my morning pages with this fiction writing, and it was a shift for me. I was so used just to doing a brain dump each morning. So, changing up the style of the writing and trying to keep my story arch was challenging. To keep things flowing for my, I switched the style of how I was writing the story, so it was more scaleable for me and made it easier to jump in and out of when I needed to.

The other problem with the first week was I had a rough idea that I liked quite a rather lot. But, that was it. It was a rough outline.

There was not any real preparation for the story our outline. I wrote out a few sentences but I need to have some more structure to help keep me focused and in a general area.

So, the first few chapters were a bit all over the place. The main story kept changing its mind. After, five days I sat down and I just wrote out a bullet list of stuff that should happen in-between and that helped get the story going and made the writing a lot easier.

I learned a lot from doing this; it was a challenge, and it got me thinking in a way that I have never before. I almost want to go back and rewrite the story a bit more. I believe that during the month and the writing process I fell in love with the idea and this fictitious scenario I drew up. Then the other part of me is scared to read it because I wrote in 30-minute chunks at 6 am for a month. There are bound to be some will mistakes in it.

Writing for a purpose like that was motivating in a sense. It is different that just clearing your head of ideas. While writing the story, I found that I was using characters and scenarios from my life. It was hard not to pull that stuff into the story. It was not something that I set out to do. Storytelling is an art form and being able to bring in the interesting characters you met in life and having them interact a skill, and it was damn fun to do.


John SiwickiWritten by John Siwicki who lives and works building interesting things. You should follow him on Twitter