NaNoWriMo Lessons Learned, Part 2 – Personal Takeaways

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is over, but my lessons learned will last me a lifetime.  Part 1 of this series was about my writing takeaways.

Lessons LearnedThe personal takeaways were gleaned from hours of writing, researching the internet for historical context, reading old family letters, reviewing old photographs, interviewing people (mostly family) and having heart to heart conversations with my stepmother.  There were many tears shed during these hours and minutes dedicated to writing my memoir last month.  Below are my thoughts on the personal takeaways from my month of literary abandon.

Personal Lessons Learned

  1. I can let go of a desired outcome.  When life or professional obstacles surfaced during the month, I had to make decisions that I knew would significantly affect my ability to reach 50,000 words.  I chose to let go of the word count goal and the coveted bragging rights that go along with it.
  2. I am not a failure or a quitter.  It would’ve been easy to give up when the obstacles started to surface.  Instead I was able to keep my focus on the higher purpose of my writing and stick with it.
  3. I’m not doing this for myself.  If I was, I would’ve quit.  It took an emotional and physical toll on my body, but I kept sensing God’s calling to continue.
  4. I AM doing this for myself.  Ok, I know that is a contradiction to #3, but it’s true.  As I started to see so many patterns and gain insights along the way, it became very prevalent how important this is to my own healing.  It was a gift to myself.
  5. God’s timing is perfect.  Ok, I knew that, but this confirmed it—again.  There were so many coincidences to things going on in my life now with the past that I knew God wanted me to see them at this very moment in time.  (Lots of blog and writing material here.)
  6. God was with me in the past even when I didn’t sense His presence.  He didn’t forsake me even though I forsook Him.  I knew that too, but got new insights along the way.
  7. I was not alone in the process.  I chose to not use the NaNoWriMo online community and instead relied on my friends and their prayers for support.  They were there for me.
  8. God has been equipping me to write this story and to serve Him in bigger ways.  I can and do trust Him to lead me on my writing journey.
  9. Finishing my memoir is not going to be easy.  This is going to take a long time—maybe years—to write, edit, publish, etc.  I need to be patient and consistent—like the tortoise, not like the hare.Writing
  10. I learned that I really do love to write—even though my brain was a bit fried at times—especially after my push the last week of the month.
  11. I have a greater sense of gratitude for the transformation that God has worked in me over the years.  This past month my writing forced me to face many low periods in my life.  I am grateful He has redeemed it and made me whole.

While NaNoWriMo is over, my memoir writing isn’t.  I’m taking December off from my memoir, but not from writing.  In January I will continue with Chapter 7 and my writing pilgrimage—at a much slower pace.  Along the way, I know God will show up and continue to turn my healing into hope.

Leave a comment


  1. Beautiful…..simply and purely beautiful! You are so loved! You are so precious Ardis! Rest my friend…in His loving arms and rejoice!


  2. great learning lessons Ardis…. you are a good writer!



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    I'm an author, writer, speaker, mentor & mom. I've struggled to find my voice all my life as I lived in the shadows of a mother with mental illness. Thankfully that was not the legacy that she handed down to me. It took a lot of recovery and deep healing work to rise above it.

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