6 Things I’ve Learned From My First 6 Days Of NaNo

 It’s November and, for some writers, that means it’s time for




I’m a first-timer so you can expect that I’ll make mistakes,  won’t be as productive as veterans of NaNo, will likely stress on the days when I have no time to write, and may get stuck in the middle of my story.

All that fear aside, I jumped in with both feet.  I didn’t have a complete outline and had questions on how to make a couple of parts of my story work.


I decided to continue to plot as I went along – one issue solved.

If I get 50,000 words of crap written, I can always go back and fix it. At least I’ll have the bones down.


In my first 6 days, I’ve learned a few other things that might help you:

whether you’ve begun NaNo or not,

whether you’re a first-timer or not

whether you’re participating in NaNo or just slogging through your work in progress on your own schedule.


6 Things I’ve learned from my first 6 days of NaNo


  1. It’s pretty damn scary to imagine writing a novel in 30 days when, in my case, plotting, character sketches, setting descriptions, research, and writing has taken me close to a year before now. I know where I want my story to go and I know I can write well so, I refuse to allow fear to get in my way.
  2. Writing is lonely. When you’re lonely, staying motivated is tough. It helps to bounce ideas off others and to give and receive encouragement. I found several Buddies to keep me moving forward without fear. I do the same for them. 
  3. I didn’t plan far enough ahead. Out of fear of commitment, I planned poorly. My outline wasn’t even 25% done and I had only done character profiles on my main character so, I began at a disadvantage. Next time, I will have all my character sketches, setting description and outline completed before the start of NaNo.
  4. I was disorganized. The first couple of days I had no scheduled time set aside for writing. In fact, I’ve never had scheduled time set aside. So, I scrambled, trying to fit it in with all of my other planned activities for the day. Writing has to come first. Now, I write at the same time everyday.
  5. I needed a way to motivate myself when Buddies were busy with their own writing. As much as I cringe at the thought of deadlines, they do may me work faster and more focused. The Pomodoro Technique works for me. I set a timer for 30 minutes and write as much as I can in that time. Then I take a ten minute break where I do something unrelated to writing. Then I go back for another 30 minutes and continue in this manner until I’ve reached my goal. You should try using a timer.
  6. Fear of failure is a big problem for writers. We worry about aspect of writing, marketing and publishing. So in facing a challenge like NaNo, it’s not surprising when you hear a writer speak with apprehension. For whatever reason, 50,000 words didn’t frighten me o I was certain I could be successful. My motto: Plan to win!


Here are two more lessons learned from a couple of my Buddies:

Bonnie Burnatowski – “I’m learning that I should stop editing so much and just write. It’s very time-consuming to keep going back and editing everything as I write. It’s a bad habit I have acquired over time.”

Kristin Nador – “I am learning that there is always time for writing. I just have to choose me.


We’ve given you a lot to think about and I hope it helps.


Are you taking part in NaNo this month? If so, what have you learned so far?

Do you have other tips for writers on writing a first draft?


Please do let me know what’s on mind your mind. I love hearing from you.


Marcia Richards, sexy, smart and strong




  1. Raelyn Barclay  November 7, 2013

    I am NaNoing, and I started out even worse off than you, LOL. I went into this year completely blind. Well, not completely, I did a brainstorming tarot spread but I have no plot other than a real generic 3 acts/9 blocks/27 chapters kinda thing. It will be interesting to say the least.

    You’ve been doing wonderfully with your wordage. Here’s to success in November 😀
    Raelyn Barclay recently posted..Behind the ScenesMy Profile

  2. Helen  November 6, 2013

    I think you are very clear though on what your roadblocks are and how to get around them and that’s the first step in making the changes you need to gitrdone! Reading it on paper makes it a lot easier to forge ahead. You have had a lot of things on the sidelines going on, so I am impressed that you can do them all, and do them all well!! I have no doubt that as this month goes on, you will fine tune even more to perfect each day and turn out a great book. Forge ahead!!!


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