Lessons From NaNoWriMo

November was an adventure. I would love to say business that comes from the routines of life in addition to the looming word count has ended for me, but my job is never done. Today and tomorrow require me to substitute a kindergarten class–an adventure in itself, but a writer/part-time teacher/substitute teacher has to earn extra Christmas money somehow.

However, after shuffling the kids between chapel and music class, I had a moment to ponder what I’ve learned from NaNoWriMo.

Firstly, the inner critic can be quieted! Silenced, no, but quieted, yes. Now I can live by what I tell others: first drafts are allowed to be filled with imperfections. What really matters is that words are on the page and ideas are flowing.

It isn’t as hard as I thought to make time to write every day. The only way to get better at something is to practice and practice often. Even if it’s only through a blog post, spending time immersed in words is vital for a writer.

Finally, reaching 50,000 words isn’t everything. In October, I made a passing comment about NaNoWriMo to my 6th grade students. One decided to join me in the quest. She has spent the past month pouring her heart into a story. I could only grin every week as she told me and her friend how her story was going and what would happen next. Though I don’t know if she finished–she had 8,000 words to go when I saw her on November 30th–she is definitely a NaNoWriMo winner. She understands what the challenge is really about. It’s not the word count. It’s about writing. Hopefully this experience has left her with a deeper love of my favorite art form. If nothing else, her dedication and determination are an inspiration that I will never forget.


One response to “Lessons From NaNoWriMo

  • Ishana

    Your student definitely has the right idea. And because of that, she’s won regardless of word count.

    “What really matters is that words are on the page and ideas are flowing.” — Love this sentence.

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