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Learning from Cheating

I’m clearly not the only cheat. The NaNoWriMo site even has a name for cheats: NaNo Rebel.

I admit it. For the first time, I cheated  this year at NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo? You know – that month when crazy people all over the world try to write a novel in a month?

True, I typed every word, but they weren’t all new words. I was rewriting my debut novel, changing third person to first and past tense to present, adding more thoughts and new scenes. I love the way it turned out, although it still needs more work.

The Rewrite Process

In NaNoWriMo terms, I “won” easily. I reached the target of 50,000 words on 19th November. Then I continued to the end of the story, and even found time to go back and add things that were left out.

I’m clearly not the only cheat. The NaNoWriMo site even has a name for cheats: NaNo Rebel. Yay!

I'm a NaNo Rebel

Despite cheating, or maybe because of it, I learned new things.

What I learned

  • I have plenty of time to devote to writing. There’s no reason why I shouldn’t be able to “win” every year.
  • I write best and fastest on my own at home.
  • I still love write-ins, where we discuss our novels and also write together.
  • I can write with background noise, but get distracted by songs I know and love.
  • I need a detailed plan. It takes me too long to create new scenes as I write, if I haven’t planned properly.
  • I love NaNoWriMo. Yeah, I knew that before.

For those who still don’t get it, don’t be put off by the words “write a novel in a month.” We all know we won’t end up with a completed novel. It’s only a first draft, and even that won’t be complete, as most novels are longer than 50,000 words. But, even if you don’t “win,” you end the month with something to work on. It’s much better than a blank page.

By Miriam Drori

Author, editor, attempter of this thing called life.

4 replies on “Learning from Cheating”

Well done! It makes sense to use NaNoWriMo in whatever way is best for where you’re at. I didn’t enter it but it did become a sort of springboard for me as I tried to push forward every day with my novel-in-progress. I’d already started writing this novel before November, done some planning and written a couple of chapters. Throughout November I pushed on with the first draft and I now have 40,000 words to edit (I would say I’m up to around the midpoint). Thinking about all you NaNoWriMoyers writing your drafts at the same time somehow helped motivate me to keep going.

Good on you for winning NaNoWriMo this year, but just as importantly, gaining take-aways to encourage you going forward.

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