Life Lessons from National Novel Writing Month

I won, and I won long before the deadline ran me over. National Novel Writing Month always presents a challenge for me. I home school three boys. I write full-time. I have responsibilities that find a way of distracting me from the words I need to write.

This year was no different – in fact, it was much worse. I kicked off the challenge with a flash of brilliance. I stayed up until midnight so I could knock out those first few words. It was a success.

The day before, we had discovered one of our dogs out in the middle of the woods on our land. She had no visible signs of injury, but she would not get up on her own. The vet thought it was either a mild stroke or that she had suffered a blow to her head. Either way, I now had the added chore of cleaning up after the dog because she was not able to get up and go to the restroom on her own.

And yes – all of this has a point.

I went a full week not working on my #NaNoWriMo – and doing very little writing at all. I had plenty on my hands, I assured myself. One day, while I was handling all of that plenty, I saw a Facebook post from a group of my fellow writers. They were calling out a “word spring” challenge for only 20 minutes. I had 20 minutes to spare, so I jumper right in and at the end of the sprint I was 700 words closer to the finish line.

I kept sprinting. In between sprints, I did other stuff from my to-do list. By the end of the week I had fallen into a system.

What I Learned from #NaNoWriMo

    10. A little bit goes a long way when I do that little bit on a consistent basis.

    9. There will always be an excuse.

    8. My next step is determined by my next choice.

    7. My family may not make it any easier.

    6. I have to keep making the choice even if I am not backed by my family.

    5. Just because it seems impossible does not mean that it is impossible.

    4. The more I do the more I will get done – action begets action.

    3. Momentum makes the next step even easier.

    2. The right challenge – when taken with boldness – will push me beyond what I ever suspected possible.

    1. A mind set on reaching a goal teamed up with a heart willing to make the choices will produce miraculous results.

I started the month of November with no words written. I ended the month of November with almost 90,000 new words under my belt and the first draft of my second book in the tourism fiction series, Scouting Out Adventure. I also took steps to complete some projects that have been cluttering up our house and our lives.

It started with a little but with consistent determination it added up to a lot.

Have you taken a challenge recently? What did you learn from that challenge that will translate into the rest of your life?

Share today so that we can all learn what it takes to make another step in the direction of our success.

Be blessed,


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  • Great blog Kathryn! It’s amazing how those little steps add up to big success. To answer your question, yes! I recently took part in a writers workshop. I was VERY nervous about being able to give good crit to my fellow writers and about my ability to manage my deadlines. All my fears were unfounded though, as they so often are when we put our minds to something.

    Wishing you the very best this holiday season and congrats on Nano!

    • Thanks so much for visiting DeAnna. Man, I remember that first workshop. I think I was sick for a couple of days before . . . I wanted to be impressive and to make my mark. 🙂 I did not sign a multi-million dollar contract – that time, but I did make some great connections and take one more step.

      You are so right. It is one step . . .