What I learned by failing at nanowrimo

Generic-180x180There’s no way I’m going to be able to crank out 15,000 words by midnight so I’m conceding, but am still happy that I tried it and will probably try again next year (if it happens).  The following are few important lessons that the deadline taught me:


Just because you generally have 3 or 4 hours of free time at work every day does not mean that you’re consistently going to have 3 or 4 hours of free time at work a day.

I know it seems kind of ridiculous that I get paid to be available to test things, but I do and while sometimes there’s not a lot to test or work on, the past month has been atypically busy.  It takes me at least five or ten minutes to settle into a productive writing state of mind and for the past two weeks I’ve only had about that long to write anything.


Writing at home is a pipe dream, at least for me it is.

First of all: 15 month old baby, Second of all: 250-year-old ridiculously drafty house that didn’t seem as drafty when the welfare of a baby was not part of the equation and Third: There’s just too much to do when you get home when 11-12 hours of your day are consumed with work and commute.


Writing random shorts stops me from getting bored.

The post previous to this detailed my becoming slightly dissatisfied with the tone of the book. I have since found some interesting ways to correct this, but I probably would have come upon my solutions much sooner had I been feeding this blog with more new material.  Exercising variations in content and style is important for me because I tend to slip into a specific rhythm and voice when I’m not paying attention.


Content is important and I’ve been getting annoyed with thin characters lately.

Thin of course meaning not terribly developed as opposed to physically thin, which I tend to make my characters by default because I watch a lot of movies.  I’m quite sure I would have reached 50,000 by now, but unfortunately it wouldn’t be something I would want to read, edit or look at once  I was done.


Sprinting to the next major plot point can yield interesting results.

This actually helped me flesh out some of what was lacking in my original idea and I don’t know that I would have come to the same conclusion if I had been writing at my normal pace.

In any case, the book I’m working on is probably going to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 200,000 words, so I really wouldnt’ be finishing anything anyway, but I know that this is just justification for laziness and failure so I guess I’ll see what I can get done in the next 7 hours.


About christophermwilt

Design, invent, write, parent, cook, create View all posts by christophermwilt

One response to “What I learned by failing at nanowrimo

  • sparksmcgee

    I may actually do NaNoWriMo next year, just because of this post. 🙂 I am 98% positive that I can’t finish the task in the time allotted, but maybe it will still be worthwhile!

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