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Sunday, November 30, 2008

What You Can Learn from NaNoWriMo Winners

National Novel Writing Month ends today, so I thought I'd share an article with some final thoughts about NaNoWriMo. How did everyone do with the challenge this year? Any success stories to discuss? :) --MP

by Rochelle Melander

...NaNoWriMo winners will finish a 50,000-word novel by midnight on November 30th. Earlier this month, I interviewed several NaNoWriMo Winners by email. Every writer can learn something from the success of these writers. Here are my favorite tips:

1. Busy is not an excuse. In fact, many of the NaNoWriMo Winners keep chaotic schedules. Winner Elizabeth McKinney from Winston-Salem wrote her novel while also writing professionally for her full-time job. Winner Nicole Gustasa from California said, “Not only did I finish National Novel Writing Month last year, but I did it while I was moving, finalizing my divorce and working a 60-hour a week job!” Never whine about being too busy to write. If you want to write, you’ll find time to write.

2. No MFA? No problem. Many of the wannabe writers I meet put off their writing careers until they can get more education or experience. Don’t wait. Educate yourself by reading and attending workshops. Get experience by writing. Winner Susan Drolet said, “When I actually finished an entire novel, I realized that you don't have to be a professional writer or have a degree in journalism to put words together to make a coherent story. I am so proud of my accomplishment!”

3. Success creates success. Every NaNoWriMo winner I talked to was proud of their 50,000-word accomplishment—and they should be. NaNoWriMo success boosted the winners’ writing confidence and spilled over into other areas as well. Winner Kristine Augustyn said, "Because I actually completed the novel I feel that I can do many more things. It has given me greater confidence and inspiration and in turn I have inspired others to try things." Kristine gained the confidence to start a new business, Badge of Intent. For me, the discipline of writing gave me the knowledge and the confidence to create and stick to an exercise program.

You don’t need to be a National Novel Writing Month winner to know what successful writers know. Take a look at your own writing successes. Perhaps you committed to and finished a journaling program. Maybe you finished a big writing project on time. Or you got that first big article published. Ask your self, “What practices led to that success?” Make a list. Do more of the same—and you will be more successful. It’s that simple.

Visit the National Novel Writing Month website for more success stories.
Kristine Augustyn’s website is Badge of Intent.

Right Now! Coach Rochelle Melander supports people in writing to transform their lives and businesses. If you’re ready to establish credibility, make more money, and market your work by writing a book, blog, or Web site, get your free subscription to her Write Now! Tips Ezine at


  1. Anonymous3:36 PM

    "Busy is not an excuse" may as well be my personal mantra. I feel odd when I'm not busy. :) Congrats to all NaNo winners.

  2. This was my first year to participate, and I reached the goal by early morning on the 29th. I had outlined the novel before I began, though. That gave me a direction and allowed me to not flounder with worry as I typed. I don't know that I'll do it again, though. I will say that it gave me a lot more confidence about writing in general. My daily mantra was "butt in the chair, fingers on keyboard".

  3. Allena, if that is your mantra, it must be working. You seem to do it all!

  4. Congratulations, Sarabeth! What an awesome achievement. :) I love your mantra too. (How many mantras can I have?)

  5. This was my first year to attempt NaNoWriMo, and I'm so happy I finished! In fact, I finished by the 21st because I was leaving town for Thanksgiving week and I knew I wouldn't have any time to write then. I got up at 5am everyday to write, and I also wrote during my son's nap time, which I usually use for other chores. I was exhausted by the time I finished, and I know I couldn't keep it up at that rate, but it was a wonderful exercise and it proved that I could do it fast if I really want to! I'm so excited that I have a third novel to work on!!

    BTW, I love the new look here!

  6. Great job, Shelli! You really rocked, getting it done before your trip. Your story about how you did it is really motivating.


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