“I tried harder”: Writers share their NaNoWriMo experiences

NaNoWriMo shield logoLast night was our post-NaNoWriMo wrap-up event, where writers came to share their experiences. Once again, the marvelous writing coach Lynette Benton led the session, and seven writers talked about their stories, their word counts, their titles, and their strategies.

Several writers “won” the NaNoWriMo challenge – that is, they wrote 50,000 words (or more!) in November alone. Others set and met different goals; either way, as Lynette said, “You got a great deal done that you wouldn’t have done otherwise.” Even if you make up your own rules, NaNoWriMo is a catalyst; “The point is we want to be productive in our writing.”

Here’s what our NaNoWriMo participants accomplished this November:

  • “Won” (wrote 50,000 words) on their seventh try – and finished a few days early! What was different this year? “I tried harder” and used the strategy of writing “whatever was in my head,” using placeholders when specific words or phrases were elusive.
  • Wrote 15,000 words of a historical novel on their phone. This person is not yet thirteen years old. WOW.
  • Wrote 1000 words a day for the first twelve days, “did what I wanted to do” – and came up with a title! (Often harder than it seems.)
  • Won (54,000 words), and reached a lifetime word count total of over 300,000 words over the past seven years. Again, WOW.
  • Won (50,000 words) for the second time.
  • Won (52,000 words)…by ignoring a lot of homework. (But hey, you wrote a book!)

Our writers came up with wonderful stories: family letters, video game-based fanfic, an occult mystery, a sci-fi thriller, historical fiction set in pre-Revolutionary War Boston, a hero and villain story, and a collection of essays (not technically a novel, but you set your own goals).

NaNoWriMo participants said they were interested in an open mic night to read excerpts of their work – raise your hand if you’d come to that! – and in participating in Camp NaNoWriMo in April and July as well. A huge round of applause for all our “WriMos,” and for Lynette’s great coaching!

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