The Power of Writing Partners…Or How I Won #NaNoWriMo After All

nanowrimo_2016_webbadge_winner-smallerIn my last post, NaNoWriMo: 4 Reasons You Should Keep Going, Even If You Won’t Win, I talked about how far behind I was in my goal of writing 50k in one month. Although I kept writing, I felt pretty certain that I would not be a NaNoWriMo winner in 2016.

And then, something happened.

My good friend, Jenny Hansen, suggested doing writing sprints together. The NaNoWriMo website provided an easy, effective tool for setting up a group sprint and then adding your word count total at the end of your time. We coordinated our schedules, set up group sprints, and let our fingers fly across our keyboards.

Even though we’re separated by 1500 miles and two time zones, we experienced that connection of both going for the same goal and supporting one another. Just knowing she was on the other end and expected me to get some words down motivated me to, well, get some words down. Her encouragement was awesome, but the accountability probably mattered more.

Because having someone cheering for you isn’t quite like having someone on the same team with you. It’s fabulous to hear, “You can do it!” “I’m pulling for you!” “You’ve got this!” And the support of other writers on Facebook and Twitter and face-to-face absolutely helped me adopt the right attitude.

But the accountability of a writing partner forced me to clear the time, open up my manuscript, and write words and pages and scenes.

I was 20,000 words behind. But Jenny and I both ended up having two 5,000+ word days. And on November 30, we crossed the finish line together. That’s right, I’m a NaNoWriMo winner after all!

I have a mostly completed manuscript, a NaNoWriMo winner T-shirt on its way, and some great takeaways. Including that I want to continue writing with others to increase my accountability and meet my goals.

In fact, the NaNoWriMo site still has its group sprint page available, which I highly recommend. Or you could meet in person with local writers. Or set a clock and tag someone on social media. Whatever works for you.

Congratulations to all the NaNoWriMo winners out there! And an especially big shout-out to Jenny Hansen for breaking the finish line ribbon with me.

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7 thoughts on “The Power of Writing Partners…Or How I Won #NaNoWriMo After All

  1. Julie, I found the experience less satisfactory as far as connecting with another writer. I can see how having someone like you mention definitely helped you. I tried to be an encourager in the first third of NaNoWriMo2016, but found it to be a lonely pursuit. People appreciated the kindness, but it did not foster any kind of connection. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t do it for the payback, but just found it interesting the way people work.

    Congratulations on winning. Is it your first time? It was mine and I carry it as a fabulous badge of honor. Now my goal is to get some query action to follow. There is an agent or two just waiting for the words I have collected, I just have to find them!

    1. What might have strengthened our success is that Jenny and I already have an established relationship. We’d even roomed together a few years back during a writing workshop/retreat. So having someone who knows you be your writing partner might boost your results. Regardless, congratulations on your win! That’s huge. Well done!!!

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