Five Things I Learned From NaNoWriMo 2015

As most of you know, I am usually a hand writer for first drafts. For this NaNoWriMo (which I just won) I decided I was going to type it entirely. I learned a few things along the way. 

1. Typing and Writing are different: 

Typing is completely different than writing, most of us know this. But looking at a page versus looking at a screen when you are writing a novel are complete opposites. Pages, especially when writing in pen, are messy and smudged (any fellow left handed will agree), compared to a screen, which stays pretty clean and organized. 

It wasn’t too difficult of a transition because I have been typing up a few stories here and there for a while, but typing fan fiction vs typing original stories is a huge shift. Not only that, but the opportunity to write in bed without having a light on definitely saved my word count. 

2. Distractions Happen:

Smart phones are wonderful. You can basically have the world in your pocket and find any information at the click of a button.  This can be good or bad during NaNo because you can research and find what you need in a flash. Or, like me for part of the month, be sucked into playing flash games, answering emails or texts, and avoiding writing. 

Not only is having a smartphone and the world in your pocket distracting, but so is the world around you. I started a job at the end of October, had several interviews and several other non writing distractions over the course of the month. There were several days where I would make excuses not to write. And that meant at one point this month I was 10 thousand words behind. 

3. It is important to Save Your Work:

As with any writing, saving work is important. This is the section of the post where I talk about what I use and why. I use google drive and or docs, which on my old tablet, used to take forever to load and save, and I would lose a lot of work at the beginning of the month. My tablet was nearly three years old, but still, it sucks to have to double save and make sure that things stay where they are supposed to. 

A little over halfway through the month, I upgraded to a smartphone (finally!) and then saving in google docs/drive was not an issue. Not only that, but if the internet was ducky, I could just use data to write and instantly save my work and the upwards of a thousand or so words for each writing session. 

4. There is a Learning Curve for New Tech:

Trying to learn how to work new technology can be fun, and a little terrifying during NaNoWriMo. I switched from a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (old, I know) to an iPhone 6s Plus. Not only was the OS way different, but the size of the keyboard and the functionality was completely different. I was awed by the speed and all of the other functions that the iPhone has to offer. 

I picked up most of the functions that I needed to write at least. But the keyboard works completely different as far as punctuation and autocorrect is involved. So for the first few days I would read over the previous day’s work and wonder why there were several punctuation marks instead of letters. Or why certain words had been corrected to mostly men’s names (which made for interesting sentences, and laughable moments). But the pros definitely outweigh the cons of new tech. 

5. Writing a novel and having a life is Hard:
I started a new job at the end of October. So not only was I training in my new job, and working all kind of hours of the day, but I was trying to write a novel during my lunch breaks and ten minute breaks. When I would get home I would be too tired to even think about writing, so my writing suffered for several days out of the month. 

Not only that, but November is a month centered around family and giving thanks for what we have. I spent a lot of time with friends and family this month, getting out of the house and expanding my comfort zone. Great for feeling social and being a human being, but not always so great for the word count. 

I did end up winning NaNoWriMo with a few hours to spare, and it did take a lot of catch up, and a few agonizing moments of “I can’t win this so I should just stop now” but I kept going, kept moving forward and I came out victorious. 

So, whether you wrote or typed this NaNoWriMo, you started (and hopefully finished- or made progress) something great.