Gini Dietrich

Lessons Learned from National Novel Writing Month

By: Gini Dietrich | January 21, 2013 | 
111

Many of you have asked me how my fiction writing is going, particularly because I made it public I was participating in National Novel Writing Month this past November.

Let’s just say I was very naive about the process.

The goal is to write 50,000 words in one month.

I accomplished that…gold star for me!

But did you know that’s not a full book? It’s only about 100 pages. For me, it is maybe a quarter of my book.

I understand, now, the point is to get you in the habit of writing every day and to move you closer toward having a book…eventually.

But I really thought I’d have a book that needed a good edit and a couple of revisions by the end of November. Then I could go get an agent and shop it around.

Nope.

If I finish it, it’ll take me a good three or four months just to get the story out of my head (writing an hour every day). Then it’ll need a good edit and a couple of revisions.

But I went and committed to writing Spin Sucks (the book) so the fiction is on hold for now.

Lessons Learned from NaNoWriMo

  • Read fiction. A lot of fiction. And all sorts of genres…not just the stuff you normally read.
  • It’s a lot harder to write fiction than a business book, especially if you blog for work every day.
  • Practice, practice, practice. Just like blogging here every day makes me a good business author, writing fiction every day would make me a better storyteller.
  • November is a terrible month to take on a project like this. You’ll think it’s a great month because you have a few days off for Thanksgiving, but family doesn’t stop because you have to write.
  • I wrote for an hour every day. That got me to the 50,000 words, but if you aren’t disciplined enough to do that, consider you’ll have to spend at least eight hours every weekend.
  • Going into November, I had the story outlined in a notebook, but I didn’t do enough research or decide the simple things – such as character names – ahead of time. If you participate this year, make sure you do all of that beforehand. The rule is you just can’t have started writing…but you can do everything else.
  • Making it public holds you accountable. I’m glad I did because there were some days when that alarm went off at 4:30 a.m. and I thought, “I can just double my efforts tomorrow.” But the fact that so many of you were holding me accountable got me out of bed to write that first hour of the day.

I’m sure there are lots more things, but the biggest thing was that 50,000 words does not a novel make.

The book will be finished eventually. I have started dreaming about it so it’s in my head and it needs to come out. But, for now, it’s on hiatus.

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

Spin Sucks in Your Inbox

There are 111 comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  
Please enter an e-mail address