NaNoWriMo Wrap-Up | Things I’ve Learned and Q&A

I won NaNoWriMo! It feels good to write that! For everyone that has cheered me on, helped me in any way, did word sprints with me (Ilsa thank you <3), or whether you just chatted with me, thank you alllllll!

During NaNoWriMo I’ve struggled a lot, but I pulled through and ended up with 50,060 words (I honestly don’t understand because MS Word counted 50,054 words, I don’t know where those final 6 words came from). I’ve made most of it up as I went. I had an outline, but I haven’t even looked at it in the final half. I knew most of it by heart though and there wasn’t much work put in the outline.


If you look at my stats, it seems like I had a pretty relaxed month, but that’s not really the case. I’ve had pretty bad days on which I barely wrote anything, and on other days I wrote 3k, but I wrote something on every single day.


How to win it? – Savannah from The Book Prophet

The easy (and sassy) answer is just by writing 50k, but it’s, of course, more complex than that. The most important thing for me was to keep your goal in mind, but make it small and feasible. If you think you need to write 50k, you’ll think it’s not possible. But if you keep in mind, you need to write 1,7k today, it’s suddenly a bit more doable. So if you write 1.7k on one day, it’s a victory. Count that as a victory. Do that 30 times, and you win.

How did you pull through? – Jackie from Too Much of a Booknerd

I’d say with a lot of coffee and chocolate, but to be honest, I didn’t have either at all?? What you do need is a lot of dedication. People might say this is not the way to do it, but it works great for me: write even when you don’t want to. Make yourself write every single day. Even when you don’t have time at all, even when you don’t feel like it, even when you have a million excuses not to write, open that damn document and write. Once you start, you’ll notice it’s much less hard than it seems. Lock that editor in a dark corner of your brain, and write write write. Don’t matter how bad it is, whatever you’re writing, you can edit/rewrite later.

On days you really don’t feel well, or don’t want to write, make sure to get at least one word down. One word is more than nothing after all. While writing, I tried to keep on track really badly, so if I took a day off, it would mean I had to write double to words the next day. And that scared me usually enough to try to write at least 1.7 words.

How do you prepare for NaNoWriMo? – Debbie from Debbie’s Libary

Hah, I didn’t. Oops. I was planning on working on a WIP I had been working on during Camp NaNoWriMo in July, and last minute (11 hours before NaNoWriMo started) I decided to write something completely different. At that point, all I had was a title, three character names and that it had to be a Mulan retelling. I wrote a short outline of a few hundred words, after finally deciding on a genre, which went something like this:

Once upon a time there was a boy named Xiulan, and he was stuck in a girl’s body. There was a war… blablablablabla… and they lived happily ever after.

I’m not going to share the details of the story with you but basically, I made a very cheesy summary including many times the word “then”. It was basically a list of plot points. Throughout NaNo, this was definitely annoying because there was a lot of space between the plot points and I had no scenes worked out. I definitely recommend writing a longer outline than that!

I did very little research either, which I hated about myself because I could really have used it but I decided to propone research for later. I’ll do my research between the first and second draft (if I get there haha). The only research I did during NaNoWriMo was reading a few articles when I needed facts, and watching/listening to soundscapes, to get a vibe of my setting.

I also barely prepared my characters, I mainly let them develop as I wrote, which lead to many surprises because my characters did so many things I didn’t plan on!

And how did you plan your word count/writing beforehand? – Debbie from Debbie’s Library

I wanted to do reverse NaNoWriMo, which basically means that you start with double the wordcount (2×1.667) and end with 1 word. But that failed, majorly. I ended up just going for 1.667 words per day. I made a pretty scheme to plan out my word count and I used it up to day 10 and then I gave up on it haha. I only used the NaNoWriMo stats to check my word count.

I didn’t plan anything besides the daily goals. Seriously, I feel like I’m the wrong person to win this thing because I didn’t prepare anything. I just had a lot of motivation and am good at pressuring myself.


What I learned

  • Motivation >> preparation. Motivation is so much more important than preparation. You can prepare all you want, but you need the mentality.
  • I can write surprisingly fast if I want to. If I don’t bother writing ‘prettily’, I can write over 1k in half an hour.
  • Word sprints are the best thing and I would never have made it to 50k without them. Word sprints are run on twitter but you can also do them yourself. Word sprints are basically that you set a timer for a set time and write as much as you can until your time is up.
  • Write a better outline before you start a big project like this one.
  • Characters never turn out exactly as you want them to, and that’s good.


What did you learn from NaNoWriMo? Did you participate? Did you win or not? Any tips or tricks you found helpful during NaNoWriMo?

24 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo Wrap-Up | Things I’ve Learned and Q&A

  1. It’s a really smart strategy to break down the big 50k goal into intervals of 1.7k a day. That makes it so much easier and less stress-inducing. I was so busy packing and getting ready to move in November, something I wasn’t really expecting so that didn’t really end up working out for me haha. I also outlined but didn’t have the motivation.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What really helps is covering your screen. That way your inner editor won’t come out because you’re not reading what you wrote. It’s kind of a stream on conciousness writing and it helps especially when you are stuck or still trying to figure out what is really happening in a scene. 🙂 I don’t think I would have won NaNo if I had looked at what I was actually writing because I would have started editing right away. 😅Congrats on winning!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I thought I would do that as well, but it actually makes me not forget anything because I write so quickly. 😅 Thank you!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations on reaching the 50k! I’ve been so dubious about myself doing NaNoWriMo, and I want to so bad, but the number is definitely terrifying. I think this is a great post to motivate newer people to the blogging/writing online community (like myself) (mostly myself lol) and I’m very grateful for it!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. For me the most important lesson was: You can’t edit a blank page. This goes hand in hand with what you said about shutting your inner editor away, as self-doubts and being too critical about what I write was a tiny threat looming at the back of my head. It’s super hard, but you get so much more done if you push through and try to ignore these nagging little doubts. At the end of the day you have enough time to edit later, but right now you need to get down that first draft 🙂

    I also agree that motivation is so important! I had a pretty detailed outline, but sometimes I would change up a scene, if I felt like I was not really excited about it. It’s always important to be itching to write a scene 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Congratulations, again, I think I said it before? On winning NaNoWriMo, this is such a great accomplishment 🙂 I love your advice and I agree that it’s important to make yourself write everyday, when you’re doing NaNO, in order to win it all. Editing and cutting the ugly parts can come afterwards, what matters is getting the words on the page that first time 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. OMG CONGRATS ON WINNING NANO!! That’s seriously amazing and I’m so proud of you! preparation. I mean, I had horrible preparation and that kind of had a hand in how motivated I was (not a lot), but I was still able to write because I had the will to. (And I’m also very competitive.)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ahhh, winning Nanowrimo was so hard!! All these tips would’ve helped…or maybe I would’ve been procrastinating on reading blogs rather than actually writing.

    Hello! I’m a new blogger. I just wanted to get to know you, if that’s ok. I don’t know anyone much besides Ilsa, a little, and Cait from PaperFury.

    Liked by 1 person

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