Lessons learned in NaNoWriMo 2014

By Katharine Swan On Friday, November 28, 2014 At 4:09 PM

NaNoWriMo is a new experience every year.  Whether I win or lose, there is always a lesson to be learned in it.

Considering I still have more than 40k to go until the goal, and there are only three days left until the end of the month, I think I will be losing this year.  I feel this year, though, as I felt after NaNoWriMo 2012,  that I learned as much (if not more) from my failure as I do when I win.

My first lesson this year is that writing nonfiction actually does take longer than writing fiction.  I thought it would be the other way around, especially since I write nonfiction every day, but it turns out I'm much slower at nonfiction when you consider words per hour.

My second lesson is that keeping up on NaNoWriMo is much harder when I am juggling freelancing and my nanny and babysitting jobs.  My first year doing NaNo, I was freelancing full time and I still managed to win, mostly by getting my freelance work done first and then working on my novel for a couple hours late every night.  I didn't win again until 2011, when I was focused more on my novel and not freelancing as much.  I thought it was hard to do NaNo and freelance at the same time, but unfortunately, it's even harder to do NaNo while freelancing and working as a nanny and a babysitter at the same time... especially when you get a huge client project right before the month starts.

I'm a little disappointed that I won't be getting the winner goodies this year, but I'm not sorry about my progress during the month.  I made major progress on a nonfiction project that's been in my ideas box for years, and I'm hoping to have a very rough draft finished by the end of the month.  I also managed to work on it at least a little bit most days, even if it was only 20 minutes or so.

That is a huge lesson, that I can do that -- put 20 minutes of work into something, even if I don't have time for anything more.  I want to continue doing that year-round, and see if it helps me to increase my output on my own projects.

How did NaNoWriMo go this year for everyone else?

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Katharine Swan is a full-time freelance writer with more than 5 years of professional writing experience. In addition to maintaining several personal blogs, she writes a variety of online marketing materials for clients, including company blogs, articles, and press releases. In her free time, she spends time with her horse, reads, and writes fiction.

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