How Writers Write · Musings

Writing Lessons From November

Mind and Heart

Even though my NaNoWriMo failed almost before it had begun, I learned a good deal of things, both practical and heart-related, when writing in November.


Get Those Pages Down! …and Read.

I learned to keep going, even if you fall short of your goal. Make another, smaller goal, and write for that. I kept on working on my book, even though I didn’t edit or draft 50,000 words. I just kept telling myself, ‘just one page today, just one page today’. That way when I ended up with 3 pages, it felt good. I ended up with 3 pages more often than not.

I learned that you need to take breaks, to think, to not think, to absorb yourself in another writer’s style and story. I read an excellent trilogy during November, by Marie Rutkotski: The Winner’s Curse, The Winner’s Crime, and The Winner’s Curse. There are so many reasons this trilogy was amazing. Rutkotski piles questions upon questions; I stayed up late reading, even on nights I needed to get up early the next day. She twined politics with romance and adventure. She built up her world in layers, not revealing very much, but making it increasingly more interesting, making the world itself a question: how does this world’s rules dictate what her characters do? How do this character’s gods dictate his actions, and how does this one’s lack of gods dictate hers? I really, really recommend Rutkotski’s trilogy. I just finished it today! It’s the best YA I’ve read in a while.

Read the authors you love. Read them every year; even, read the same book again. I read Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon after having not touched it for a couple years. New nuances of Bradley’s writing and characters snuck into my consciousness. I still love this masterpiece of Arthurian fiction.


beautiful journalist looks typewriter

Just Keep Writing, Just Keep Writing…

I also learned that sometimes you just have to write, even when you don’t want to. Otherwise, it becomes SO hard to get back into it. This is the disease I’ve been suffering from. Sometimes, I really didn’t want to write but I made myself do it. One paragraph at a time. Just one paragraph is a victory at times like this, but that’s okay.

Write a scene over and over and OVER if you must! I wrote the start of my chapter 3 so many times. Now it finally feels good. I’m finally halfway through it, and I know the rest of the chapter – I’m already gleeful for chapter 4.

Please Share!

What were some things you learned from your NaNo experience? Are you entering into any December contests? Do you feel taxed when trying to write and plan for the holidays? I would love to hear updates from you.

Until next time,




One thought on “Writing Lessons From November

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